Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre celebrates 100 years with gala

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By Sam Robinson

Supporters of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre celebrated its 100 anniversary at the historic Booth Tarkington house on Indianapolis’ near north side on June 20.

The gala event raised over $61,000 for the community theatre, which is one of the oldest in the country. The theatre also raised over $9,000 from online donations the previous day.

John Hedges, the executive director of the theatre, said that community support allows the theatre to inspire young people.

“Engendering a sense of hope in young people is at the core of our education system and at the Civic Theatre,” Hedges said. “Theatre at its best is where you go to gain your sense of humanity.”

The Civic Theatre offers classes to children, young adults and adults that want to act.

“I’m so proud of everything Civic does,” Brent Marty, the director of music and education, said. “I feel we do quality work.”

Attendees saw the Junior Civic group perform a number from “Alice in Wonderland.” They also saw Park Tudor student Nick Gehring perform a song from “Oklahoma!” Adult actors Katie Schuman and Tobin Strader then performed a song from “Spamalot.”

“The reason why we’re here is because everyone here has done something to help Civic Theatre,” Hedges said.

Alyssa Boge, a volunteer curator with the theatre, helped organize a collection of historic memorabilia. She said that famous author and dramatist Booth Tarkington once noted that the Civic Theatre performed one of his plays better than Broadway.

Boge said that the theatre formed 100 years ago because everyday people wanted to see shows.

“It was starting because there wasn’t a lot of theatre in Indianapolis,” Boge said.

The theatre’s next show is “Oklahoma!” which runs from July 23 to the 26. Tickets are on sale at civictheatre.org


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