Cincinnati moves to restore funding for Ensemble expansion

Cincinnati City Council has adopted a motion that would restore more than $176,000 in funding to the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) to aid in their Over-the-Rhine expansion.

The funding is the remainder of money originally granted in March 2004 as part of a $50,000 capital arts grant and a $200,000 challenge grant that was contingent on ETC's expansion in the neighborhood.

Because the money had not been spent, the contract expired and the City took back the funding in June.

"The challenge grant required us to raise one million dollars before receiving the City funds," says Caitlin Wood, director of external relations for ETC.

Earlier this year, ETC embarked on a $6.5 million capital campaign to finance the renovations of its current space at 1127 Vine Street and a newly-acquired 15,000-square-foot space at 1117 Vine Street.

Improvements will include a renovated performance space and seating, an outside courtyard, an on-site scene shop, new office space, a renovated box office and lobby space, and private meeting rooms.

"The expansion will allow us to extend the run time of each production by a week as we will be able to cut down our turnaround time per production," Wood says.  "This is due to the fact that our new shop and load-in doors will allow us to build our sets in full and load them in, as opposed to building them in small pieces and spending extra time putting them together."

GBBN Architects has been hired to do the renovation, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2010.

The fundraising campaign will begin in earnest this fall.

"We have been a cornerstone in OTR for 20 years and feel that we are a key component in the change, and are proud to be at the forefront of the revitalization," Wood says.

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Caitlin Wood, director of external relations, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
Rendering courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and GBBN Architects

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