Next Stage Campaign

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Over the past nine months, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has raised $4.2 million capital dollars to invest in our historic buildings, which occupy 40% of the 1100 block of Vine Street. This deliberate and quiet campaign secured the funding to renovate, rejuvenate, repair and enhance the theatre for you, our audience.

Now, we need your investment as we celebrate 30 years in Over-the-Rhine and prepare for the Next Stage. We are raising $2 million to enrich and ensure the ETC experience for the next 30 years.

Your investment in ETC will:

  • Engage our audiences with year-round productions of socially conscious and relevant theatre.
  • Expand our staff, thereby encouraging more professional artists to make Cincinnati their home.
  • Educate more students and community members by expanding our enriching classes not only in the community, but in our own space.
  • Impact the economy of OTR and Downtown with an estimated million dollars a year infusion into local businesses by ETC patrons.
  • Empower ETC with the energy needed to achieve our mission, keep the lights on, and explore the future of the American Theatre.

Your support is an essential part of our Next Stage. In addition to your ongoing support of our annual fund and attendance at our performances, I hope you will consider a donation or pledge to the Next Stage Campaign to support the future of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.


Charles H. Gerhardt, III
Next Stage Campaign Chair
President, Board of Trustees, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati



As we celebrate 30 years in Over-the-Rhine and prepare for the NEXT STAGE of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, we need your investment NOW.

Our Next Stage Campaign will:

ENGAGE our community through expanded educational programs that will take place in our own renovated space in addition to our continued off-site outreach. Your support will allow us to further develop our dedication to working with underserved audiences.

IMPROVE the economy of our neighborhood. Currently, ETC patrons generate an estimated $750,000 economic impact in our surrounding neighborhoods of OTR and Downtown. Our new facility, with expanded year-round programming, could grow that number to nearly $1 million, helping to keep the Gateway Quarter energy moving forward while employing more local professional artists. In addition to theatrical performances, ETC's newly renovated and expanded facilities will be available to musicians and other artists looking for performance space. This additional programming will attract new audiences to ETC and OTR.

CREATE new plays as a cornerstone of ETC's mission. As Cincinnati's premiere theatre, ETC invests in the development of new scripts, most visibly the original non-denominational multi-generational musicals commissioned each year. The Next Stage Campaign will create more opportunities for artists, writers, and directors to develop new works that will add to the American theatre landscape.

INVEST in our region's creative class. We need to invest in our staff and artists to allow them to advance their knowledge and skills in. ETC not only launches careers, but also actively encourages and contributes to the retention of emerging professionals in our region.

There are places awaiting your name inside our three buildings.
There are seats waiting to be called yours.
There are artists waiting to be sponsored.
There are as many opportunities as there are dreams.

The key to unlocking them is in your hands. Please give or pledge today to be an essential part of our NEXT STAGE.

ETC's future will come to life with your help.

how to help

How You Can Help

You can join our ensemble as an investor in the future of ETC by:

  • Buying A Seat - $3,000 over three years
  • Naming Something – Opportunities starting at $5,000 are still available to name a space in the renovated theatre complex
  • Donating – Your contribution of any size truly makes a big impact in helping us reach our goal!

How To Give

If you're ready to help take ETC to the Next Stage, you can donate online by clicking the button to the left or by calling the box office at (513) 421-3555.

If you would like more information about the Next Stage Campaign, our renovation project, or the opportunities to get involved, please contact us and we will arrange a convenient time to meet with you, answer any questions, and discuss your role as a valued member of our ensemble.

Other Opportunities

In addition to the Next Stage Campaign, Ensemble Theatre offers an array of sponsorship opportunities for our mainstage productions and outreach programs. These sponsorships provide critical support for ETC's ongoing operations.


When will construction take place?
Construction will begin in June 2016 and be phased to minimize its impact on ETC’s patrons and season. The scene shop and office building at 1117-1119 Vine Street will be completed by September 2016, with new construction and the restoration of 1125 Vine taking place from October 2016 through April 2017. The work in the theatre building at 1127 Vine will be completed from May through September 2017. The entire facility will open in October 2017.

Will ETC shut down during construction?
No. Our goal is that our audience experience will not be impacted by construction. You will notice that our 2016-2017 season will end earlier than usual and the 2017-2018 season will start a little later, but we will still produce six regional or world premieres each season.

Are you moving the theatre?
No. The theatre space will stay in the same location with approximately the same number of seats. BUT we will have new seats! And, you will be able to access the theatre from the main lobby as well as from the third floor.

Are you tearing down any of your buildings?
No! ETC is thrilled to be not only preserving three historical structures, but also restoring and fully occupying the 1125 Vine Street building.

Who is funding the project?
Lead gifts to the capital campaign have been made by:

  • Lucille & the late Dr. Charles Carothers
  • The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
  • Susan Friedlander & the late William A. Friedlander
  • The Adele & Robert Schiff Foundation
  • Richard Rosenthal
  • The Mitchell S. & Jacqueline P. Meyers Foundation
  • ETC co-founders the late Mary Taft & Kenneth Mahler and the late Ruth D. & John Sawyer
  • Ohio Facilities Construction Commission
  • The City of Cincinnati
  • In addition, the entire ETC Board of Trustees and Staff have contributed to the capital fund

Will ETC change its name?
No. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati will remain Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. The performance space will be named “The Lucille and Charles Carothers Theatre,” honoring the campaign’s lead contribution.

What is included in the construction project?
ETC will be adding 8,200 square feet to our current facilities including additional restrooms, an expanded lobby with a dedicated bar and concession area, a new rehearsal hall, and new spaces for educational programs, special events, meetings, and rentals. We will also be improving access to the theatre by adding an elevator, an entrance to the upper level of the theatre on the third floor, and additional ADA accessible seating on the upper level.

Will there be an elevator?
Yes! ETC is adding an elevator in the new construction that will make the entire complex more accessible. The elevator will provide access to the upper part of the theatre where there will be additional ADA accessible seating and a restroom. We hope this will help our patrons who are less comfortable with stairs by providing additional seating options.

What about the seats?
We are upgrading every seat in the theatre. The new seats will be more comfortable and wider, resulting in a slight decrease of 191 to 182 in total number of seats. Thanks to our new elevator, we will also be adding some ADA accessible seating at the upper level of the theatre.

The new seats will be in place for our 2017-2018 season.