Arts » Theater + Dance

Hamilton County jewel



It's been talked about, in the media and out, for months now: its promise for central Indiana lovers of the arts and its financing politics. The 1600-seat Carmel Palladium, the focal point for Hamilton County's Center for the Performing Arts, an ambitious first of its kind in the U.S. located in a different-county suburb adjacent to a major city, is now "in rehearsal." It is scheduled to open officially this Jan. 29. John Hughey, public relations manager for the Center, discusses some of its features.

NUVO: Your first winter/spring event lineup is very ambitious — especially bringing in the St. Petersburg Symphony (Russian) and Cleveland Orchestras, the Vienna Boys Choir, etc. Granting that you have the finances in place to cover this first season, where does all the money come from for these types of events?

HUGHEY: The performing arts center model provides revenue-producing outlets in addition to more traditional sponsorships and giving opportunities. The obvious revenue is from ticket sales, with the inaugural season sponsored by St.Vincent Health. Also, sponsorships for each of the season's five (Palladium) series are in place, and that's on top of single-concert sponsors. We have seen a tremendous response from central Indiana businesses interested in supporting the season and the Center's outreach initiatives. And the sponsorships are in place for the inaugural season and beyond. When the Palladium and the adjacent venues are all open in 2011, the Center will have a variety of spaces and configurations. Funding also comes from private, corporate, government and foundation support. It's a healthy mix meant to keep future seasons fresh and appealing.

NUVO: The Palladium is advertised as a "concert hall." Do you expect to be able to host road shows of the type similar to the "Broadway Series," currently at Clowes Hall and the Murat Theater — where curtains and a proscenium are usually needed?

HUGHEY: The Palladium will not be a venue for touring Broadway productions. It is truly designed for concerts and does not have the fly-space or a proscenium for theatrical productions.

NUVO: There are two other halls (as I believe I've read) in the Center for the Performing Arts. What are they for, how many will they seat, and what is their schedule for opening? Will there be an official opening date for the entire Center?

HUGHEY: Across the green from the Palladium are two additional venues under construction now: the 200-seat Studio Theater and the 500-seat Tarkington Theater which will be on par with any modern theater on Broadway. Touring Broadway productions are not planned for the Tarkington, however. The Studio is equivalent to a "black box" space that is capable of all sorts of seating configurations, including theater-in-the-round. It's adjacent to the Monon Greenway and will open in March. The Tarkington is a proscenium theater and is the future home of (Indy's) Civic Theater. It will have the configuration needed to stage theater and will open in August. Each of the openings will include community days when the theaters will be available to the public. It all starts with the Palladium's grand opening and gala celebration on Jan. 29.

To see the Palladium's entire schedule of inaugural-season events, visit


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