Columbus Children's Theatre's Growth And Success Set The Stage For New Opportunities

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Columbus Children's Theatre has a long history of hosting theatre productions at its theatre on Park Street in the Short North and partnering with other arts organizations and venues to engage young people in education programs and provide live theatre productions to families. By 2020, the organization will have reached more than two million students in their 57-year history.

With the goals of expanding its reach, providing the best experience for families and performers and continuing to strengthen its financial position, CCT is focusing on increased collaboration and access. To that end, it has taken advantage of an opportunity to sell its building at 512 Park Street to a neighboring organization. The sale closed on June 17, 2020.

CCT's offices and studios at 177 E. Naghten Street will continue to be the organization's headquarters and will host smaller performances for children under the age of five years. Medium and large performances will be hosted at venues such as the Lincoln Theatre, Garden Theatre, Southern Theatre, McConnell Arts Center, Abbey Theatre, Columbus Museum of Art and other locations where past CCT performances have been staged. CCT is also looking forward to new collaboration partners, participation in community events and continuing its performances in schools throughout Ohio.

"The sale opportunity has been in process for 18 months and came at the right time for us to consider," said Susan Pringle, CCT Executive Director. "Columbus Children's Theatre is very successful, and we want to continue our mission of educating and involving young people of all backgrounds in the performing arts and theatre. We are rapidly outgrowing the space on Park Street and look forward to bringing live theatre to communities in and around Columbus. In addition, there have been challenges that sometimes compromise the audience experience at our theatre, including maintenance and upkeep, scheduling, parking and the growth of the Short North in recent years.

"Since CCT owned the building at 512 Park Street, we are able to start an endowment at The Columbus Foundation that will engage donors in helping us continue to grow and serve Central Ohio students and families. CCT will begin receiving interest income from the endowment in 2024. Consequently, the annual fundraising need of the organization remains unchanged but, once realized, the revenue becomes an integral part of the long-term non-profit fundraising model."

Using its existing space and innovating with partners will allow the organization to continue to strengthen its financial position. Ms. Pringle said CCT would not rule out owning a theatre again in the future; however, the organization is confident that its new model will be very viable for the next few years.

"Columbus Children's Theatre is a beloved institution that contributes to the cultural fabric of Central Ohio with valuable learning and entertainment opportunities for students and families," said Tom Katzenmeyer, President and CEO of Greater Columbus Arts Council. "A new endowment at The Columbus Foundation will broaden interest and support to help CCT continue its mission to enrich our community with more access to theatre education."

CCT offers more than 200 performances per year, including sensory performances and a touring program that reaches schools in 74 of Ohio's 88 counties. The organization also sponsors a child writing project and offers training programs for young performers.

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