The Story of the Columbus Civic Theater

(2008 - 2020)

From the Great Recession to the Pandemic

The Columbus Civic Theater was incorporated in September 2008, by Doug Rutledge, Mark C Reeves, and Richard Albert, amidst the Great Recession. The mission was to bring an excellence to everyday theater productions, using the European and Canadian models, to make our community as theater literate as the rest of the world. Our first production opened in January of 2009, and we have mounted 94 productions over the past eleven years.

In December 2009, we found an empty building for rent at 3837 Indianola Ave in Columbus, a former doggie day care center, and much before that, a two bayed auto repair shop. A dedicated team of about 20 like-minded enthusiastic souls spent 84 days renovating the space into a small theater, with state-of-the-art lighting, two renovated bathrooms, a brand-new HVAC system, and ADA compliancy. Approximately $53,000 in donations were used to achieve this, and a theater-going population grew around the theater.

We opened the new space with George Bernard Shaw’s Candida on March 4, 2010. Since then, we extended the stage apron, installed more lights, renovated the lobby, and expanded a gratis serve yourself beverage and cookie bar. 19,757 unique visitors attended 91 fully staged productions since Candida in the space, with every performer being paid from the very first day.

In early March of this year our operations had to cease out of pandemic-era necessity, and tragically, in June, the theater had to relinquish its space to its exceedingly tolerate and generous landlord. The Civic is in search of a home and has created a capital fundraiser to renovate another space.