Profile: Bloomington Civic Theatreby Molly Bloom, Minnesota Public Radio
Bloomington Civic Theatre may not fit the image that many people hold in their minds of community theater. But BCT is not your average community theater. Its annual budget of $750,000 is more than many professional theaters.
Bloomington, Minn. — The Bloomington Civic Theatre is in the top quarter of community theaters in the nation.
Their state-of-the-art theater is housed in the new Bloomington Center for the Arts and they have 3,500 ticket subscribers. Their actors, which include non-equity professionals and experienced amateurs, are paid a stipend of $200 per show. BCT also has four salaried staff members and hires about 10 contract workers per production.
The theater produces four musicals a year and they take pride in the fact that many professional theaters can't afford to do so.
But BCT hasn't always had so many resources to draw on. Started in 1955 by a group of volunteers, it didn't have its own space until it moved into the Bloomington Center for the Arts in 2003.
Since this move, Managing Director Peter Hansen says that BCT has experienced a lot of growth in a short period of time. They are trying to figure out how they want to shape the identity of their theater.
As they wrestle with their growth and work to groom a new generation of ticket buyers, Hansen wants to make sure their volunteers and staff stay centered on the joy that comes with the process of making theater.
"In community theater, the primary focus is not on the final two hours on stage -- it's on how we get there," says Hansen.