CATCO joined Actors’ Equity Association in 1995. After producing four shows in the Vern Riffe Center’s Studio One theatre in the 1996-97 Season, CATCO moved to the Center, becoming its resident company in June 1997. Coincidentally, Steven C. Anderson, former producing director, was a guest director for the company’s first Riffe production – Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion. CATCO continued to grow artistically. In November 2003, the board found volunteers who laid the groundwork for a strategic plan to ensure the theatre’s growth.
At the same time, CATCO began its unique shared services model with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). With the assistance of Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP, CATCO and CAPA developed the structure for CATCO, which included management, production and rental agreements between the two organizations. Bill Conner, president and CEO of CAPA at the time, served as volunteer managing director for several years. CATCO staff were responsible for artistic, community outreach and education initiatives, while CAPA staff provided administrative services including finance, marketing, ticketing and development. CATCO retained its separate 501(c)(3) status.