Children’s Theatre set to begin $48 million Emery renovation

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati has scheduled a news conference March 29 to update the community on its plan for a $48 million renovation of the Emery Theater.

Cincinnati philanthropist Mary Emery commissioned the Emery Auditorium in 1911.

The purpose of the conference is to allow guests to:

  • Witness the current condition of this world-renowned theater in the heart of downtown Cincinnati which has been standing empty for more than 20 years;
  • Learn about the quest to return home where the 103-year-old organization started;
  • Hear progress and highlights of the theater company’s campaign, details about the upcoming public launch and official timeline for the future from current managing director and CEO Kim Kern and artistic director Roderick Justice;
  • See the final renderings and a video featuring the reimagined lobby and state-of-the-art theater unlike any other in this region;
  • Meet Emery campaign cabinet members.

The Children’s Theatre has embarked on a campaign to purchase, restore, and reimagine the historically significant Emery Theater.

This partnership will revitalize the treasured cultural Emery asset, and provide a permanent home for children’s theater in Cincinnati’s urban core.

What the theater company envisions is not simply a restoration, but a reinvention of the theater into a modern and memorable venue equipped with the latest technology that inspires and teaches diverse audiences.

And the company’s plans to incorporate the most modern technology, stage lifts and projection mapping, will enliven the audience experience and overcome backstage and wing limitations. Through this technology and planned expanded programming, the theater will revitalize an icon, return to its original home and put Cincinnati on the map as a family theatrical destination.

Celebrating 103 years this season, the Children’s Theatre is the oldest children’s theater in the country and the only professional theater in the region that devotes its entire main state season to children.

Its mission is to educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming.

Today, the Children’s Theatre entertains audiences through three key programs at the Taft Theatre, on tour and in workshops and at the TCT Academy in Madisonville. Each season, the company strives to reach more than 200,000 people in the Cincinnati region.

The Children’s Theatre has a long history of philanthropic support from many well-known and influential local philanthropists. The organization is in a strong financial and operating position and, based upon
results of a feasibility study facilitated by Ignite Philanthropy, is well positioned to take on a project of
this magnitude. The $37 million private raise for this project was dependent on securing transformational leadership gifts totaling $20 million or more, and it has achieved this milestone.

Total funds raised to date are $28.5 million, which puts it at 72% to goal for its private raise target and 59% to goal for the overall budget.

The theater anticipates a net tax credit equity of $10 million. In addition, the organization has engaged Government Strategies Group to assist with state and city capital budgets. It has been approved for state capital budget funding in the amount of $650,000 and tax increment financing funding from the
city in the amount of $1 million.


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