Carmel Community Players, which has been in operation for nearly 25 years, is searching for a new home.
On Feb. 14, CCP received a letter from Clay Terrace giving the theater group 30 days to vacate its space at the outdoor shopping mall.
Clay Terrace has been the home for the smaller playhouse since 2009. It now needs to look for a new short- and long-term space for shows that are already scheduled and for a permanent home.
CCP will continue with its production of “American Buffalo” at Clay Terrace from Feb. 23 to March 4, but its April production of “Ragtime” has been moved to the Ivy Tech auditorium in Noblesville. It’s been shortened to two weekends because of larger seating capacity and will run April 20 to 29.
Clay Terrace had given CCP a short-term lease at a fraction of market value, so CCP leadership has no animosity for Clay Terrace.
“While the timing of this announcement was sudden, it was not totally unexpected,” CCP President Tim Paramore said. “We knew that one day the competitive demand for space in Clay Terrace would force us to move our playhouse. That day is now.”
Clay Terrace will remodel CCP’s space and a few nearby spaces to accommodate new tenants. Several other displaced tenants had found other spaces elsewhere at Clay Terrace.
Founded in Carmel in 1993, CCP is the oldest community theater group that was established in the city. It also is the only one that is completely volunteer-operated. Actors Theatre of Indiana and Civic Theatre are professional organizations with paid positions.
“We have enjoyed having Carmel Community Players as a tenant and important part of our Clay Terrace community over the past eight years,” said Jennifer Jones, Clay Terrace’s area general manager. “We have offered assistance in helping Carmel Community Players find a new location. We wish them the best as they find a new home and continue to provide quality entertainment to the community.”
Throughout its history, CCP has staged performances at a variety of venues. Board member Rich Phipps said it will go back to that approach. Although the goal will be a permanent home, Phipps said long-term, the future looks bright for CCP. But in the short term, there’s an immediate need for performance space.
“We’re actually in the best financial situation than we’ve ever been in,” he said. “We treat it like a business, and we’ve monitored our expenses very tightly, and ticket sales have gone up every year.”
Phipps said CCP was prepared to announce its 2018-19 season at its May meeting, but details might change. He said it has shows in mind but those could change depending on the size of its new space. The hope is for a minimum of 4,000 square feet.
“Our goal is to figure this out by May,” he said. “And eventually we’d like to find a permanent home.”