Center shifts focus for fall programming
This month's meeting of the Palladium Bookies book club, with some participants physically distanced on site and others joining in on Zoom, is one example of the new ways the Center is fulfilling its mission.
Livestreams, small events will help fill gap as concert business recovers
CARMEL, Ind. – Amid continued public health concerns and a downturn in the national concert industry, the Center for the Performing Arts is delaying the start of its 2020-2021 Center Presents concert season and sharpening its focus on small-scale events, educational programming, livestreams with local artists, and performances by its Resident Companies.
The Center Presents Season sponsored by Allied Solutions brings national and international artists to the Palladium concert hall and the Center’s other venues, in genres including classical, jazz, rock, pop, country, world music, comedy and the Great American Songbook. An initial schedule and on-sale dates for the modified season will be announced in January. Several concerts that had been rescheduled for this fall will be moved to future dates.
Booking the new season has been complicated by two related factors: the decision by many artists to avoid touring during the coronavirus pandemic; and the venue capacity limits put in place to stem the spread, which reduce potential ticket revenue and disrupt the economics of every performance contract.
Under current state orders, attendance at the 1,600-seat Palladium is limited to approximately 30 percent of normal capacity. Under normal circumstances, ticket revenue accounts for about one-third of the nonprofit Center’s annual revenue, said Jeffrey C. McDermott, President and CEO of the Center and the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation.
“No one is going to make money in the concert business this season, but that’s not why we’re here,” McDermott said. “The Center has a responsibility to the Central Indiana community, we have retained the support of our donors and sponsors, and we are finding new ways to fulfill our mission. The new technical capacities we’re developing will serve us well into the future, and our new digital initiatives will help us connect with wider and more diverse audiences. In fact, these unusual circumstances are accelerating our growth in areas that we had already identified in our strategic plan.”
The Center’s education and enrichment programs for all ages include the monthly Faegre Drinker Peanut Butter & Jam performance series for families with young children; the Front Seat program, which brings high school and college students into exclusive Q&A sessions with arts and entertainment professionals; the Palladium Bookies book discussion club; and Luminaries, a weekday speaker series with presenters from throughout the world of performing arts. These and other programs are continuing, whether in person, online or some combination of the two. Full schedules and other details are available at TheCenterPresents.org/Learn.
The Center’s production team has invested in new broadcast-quality video equipment to accommodate livestreaming of events, such as the Classics in Context classical music discussion series and the new JazzTalk series. Also premiering this fall is a new livestreaming performance series, Live at the Center, featuring top local and regional artists in a range of styles.
In addition to online programming, more than 40 live events are scheduled in the Center’s venues from August through December, including performances by the resident Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Civic Theatre, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Indiana Wind Symphony. Details are available at TheCenterPresents.org.
The Center has developed an extensive set of protocols to enhance health and safety at the Palladium, the Tarkington proscenium theater and the black-box Studio Theater. Among other policies, facial coverings will be required at all times, except when seated for a performance, and seating patterns will allow for sufficient physical distancing between groups of concertgoers. More information is available at TheCenterPresents.org/Restore.
The Center will continue to share news as well as online arts and entertainment opportunities through its twice-weekly Interlude e-newsletter. Anyone can join the Center’s eClub mailing list by visiting TheCenterPresents.org and clicking the “SIGN UP” button.
About the Center for the Performing Arts
The mission of the nonprofit Center for the Performing Arts is to engage and inspire the Central Indiana community through enriching arts experiences. The Center presents and hosts hundreds of events each year, including the Center Presents performance series, featuring the best in classical, jazz, pop, rock, country, comedy and other genres. The campus in Carmel, Indiana, includes a 1,600-seat concert hall, the Palladium; a 500-seat proscenium theater, the Tarkington; and the black-box Studio Theater. The Center is home to the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation and provides space and support services for six resident companies: Actors Theatre of Indiana, Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Civic Theatre, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Indiana Wind Symphony. The Center also provides educational and experiential programming for people of all ages. More information is available at TheCenterPresents.org.