Dream: A dedicated Downtown space for local theatrical troupes

Dream: A dedicated Downtown space for local theatrical troupes

Columbus is a really huge theater town. There are over 30 [theater groups] in this city. But we don't really have adequate theaters for the size that we need. We've got the big houses-the Ohio and the Palace. They're almost 3,000 seats. And then the Southern and the Capitol are 900 seats, but still not what you would consider sort of a theatrical venue where you could really experience a play.

[We need] something that has 300 [seats], something that has 100, something that has 40-that truly is a series of spaces that are either flexible and could be used in a variety of ways or were truly built for small, intimate, experimental theater. A black box that could expand or contract would be great, or a series of them.

There is some real estate Downtown that nobody can quite figure out what to do with, between Gay and Broad there, and that's a possibility. I think it would even be more interesting if something like that did occur, if it were an existing space that was repurposed, because that sends us back to our past and our heritage.

I think that it would be a group of resident [theater] companies. Somebody would have to be in charge. That's probably the company that is the largest, which would be [CATCO], but that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be plenty of opportunity for other companies. The benefit of creating such a space would be the synergy of different energies there.

The Riffe Center almost fits, but it wasn't designed to be ... The combination of government and the arts is an unusual one. The one thing that this imagined place would need to have would be a street presence, which does not occur for theater at the Riffe Center.

We're always looking to expand our vision of what theater can be for people who live in Columbus and how that can be a driver for tourism and for other economic endeavors. As more and more people move Downtown, there's going to be more and more demand. I mean, they didn't move Downtown so that they could sit and watch TV. -As told to Peter Tonguette