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Gauthier: Beckmann Theatre closing


Just came in. RIP another small theater collaboration ...



Given the current economic climate and competition for entertainment dollars and sponsorships, the Beckmann Theatre has made the painful decision to cease operations.

The non-profit corporation was founded in 2002 as an Equity Theatre and presented a number of full productions and staged readings of plays using Indiana actors, playwrights and technicians.

Its most prominent productions included "American Buffalo" on the Phoenix Theatre lower stage and the 2005 production of David Schanker's "Asylum," a play about the final days in the schizophrenic unit at Central State Hospital produced in the Old Laundry Building on the former grounds of Central State Hospital. A third Main Stage production, "Give the Dog a Bone," was premiered at American Cabaret Theatre, directed by the Beckmann's artistic director Rockland Brooks Mers. The Beckmann also operated a Second Stage that presented staged readings of original plays, including Rita Kohn's "Rivers, Rails, Roads," a history of three Westside neighborhoods bordering U.S. 40 in Indianapolis.

"It has been a good run. We put on some excellent productions," said acting president Maria Matters at the final board meeting. Matters produced all of the theater's Main Stage shows. The founding president of the board was Indianapolis actor Bil Bruner, followed by Alan Bernstein and Tom Alvarez.

The theater was named in honor of Robert D. Beckmann Jr., first president of the Arts Council of Indianapolis and a prominent actor, photographer, arts patron and civic leader. Professionally he was a commercial real estate broker with Colliers Turley Martin Tucker. Before his death in 2001, Beckmann was honored as an urban pioneer by the Riley Area Development Corporation for his work in bringing galleries and theaters to the Massachusetts Avenue area.

After all bills are paid, any excess funds will be donated to the Beckmann Emerging Artist Fund at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.


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