Producing commercially viable new work and regional and world premieres. Cultivating relationships with institutions of higher learning. Collaborating with other arts organizations. Exploring interesting spaces. Creating captivating programming and educational opportunities for all ages.
Just a few of CATCO's ever-evolving and -changing strategic advantages to live up to its reputation as central Ohio's Equity professional theatre company. "It takes unrelenting creativity to remain agile to respond to the artistic demands of our vibrant community, which is more discerning and sophisticated than ever before," said Steven C. Anderson, CATCO's Producing Director.
A priority is to continue to deliver current and fresh theatre offerings that will resonate with audiences ranging from the very young to millennials to empty nesters. New initiatives in the past year included celebrating local artistry and reaching new audience members by casting artists beyond those found in the theatre community, such as Nina West (Andrew Levitt) in the wickedly funny Broadway hit, Buyer & Cellar, during last season.
Add to the list finding unique spaces to share theatre. "We're committed to go where people are and where they feel comfortable," Anderson said. "We're not restricting ourselves to downtown and traditional spaces."
To make CATCO is Kids! productions more family-friendly, the theatre organization is producing all of its youth shows at the Columbus Performing Arts Center on Franklin Avenue this season instead of in two locations. In addition to plenty of easily accessible parking and a convenient street entrance, the move means all youth theatre and education programs are under one roof.
In recent years, CATCO and CATCO is Kids! have produced a number of new plays, including The Last Smoker in America, The Rubenstein Kiss, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, The Wolf Tales (CATCO is Kids!) and The Final Table, and based upon their success of producing new work that is commercially viable, donors are increasing their funding for the production of world premieres. Watch for more in the future. The theatre is also shepherding the development of new work through its annual Playwrights Fellowship with the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
During the past year, CATCO and CATCO is Kids! continued to collaborate with new groups, including the Kent State University Theatre Department, The Ohio State University (Mansfield Branch), Broadway2LA Acting Studio, Evolution Theatre Company, and Weathervane Playhouse. "These ventures rejuvenate the creative juices for artists, and are stimulating for audiences when they see cross-pollinated works," Anderson said.
What's next? Expect the unexpected Anderson said. "We will continue to mix up our projects and programming. We are a young community, and we like variety."