Indianapolis' Cabaret announced that they will be leaving the Columbia Club on Monument Circle, their location of six years. They plan to move to a new location in the spring of 2017. NUVO spoke with Artistic Director and CEO, Shannon Forsell about the move.
NUVO: What kind of space are you looking for?
The very nature of cabaret is rooted in intimacy, so an intimate space is and always will be vital for us. In order to meet the demand of our rapidly growing audience, we need the freedom to be able to present more performances and/or have a space with an increase in seating. Currently, our seating capacity is 142. Ideally, we would like a seating capacity closer to 175-200. Being up close and personal with the artist will remain an important part of the experience. We definitely still want the feeling that the performer is performing in your living room for you and your closest friends.
One thing we do know is that we simply cannot recreate the beauty of The Crystal Terrace at the Columbia Club—and we won't even try. But have no fear, we know our audiences like a swanky room to go with their martini and we intend to deliver. While the Crystal Terrace was very traditionally elegant, we would like to see a little bit of urban glamour in the mix of our next room.
NUVO: Is the Cabaret moving because of financial reasons?
Yes and no. The Cabaret is stable financially. We have a tremendous roster of sponsors and a strong subscription base. That being said, in our current scenario, there is very little room for growth either artistically or financially. And we’ve been contractually locked into a capped amount of dates when we can use the Columbia Club space. While this will not impact us in the short term, it limits us from any kind of growth. We need to be able to serve our rapidly growing audience, provide educational opportunities, and continue to expand and change up our programming. With nearly all of our shows selling out far in advance, there is some risk that people will give up trying to get tickets to our shows. We want everyone that wants to attend to be able to experience The Cabaret and we want to continue to add artistic and educational programming that will expand our impact in the cultural community.
NUVO: Has there been any strife between the Club and the Cabaret? The two are remarkably different when it comes to audience and clientele.
The Cabaret and Columbia Club have not experienced strife as it relates to our differing constituents – in fact we know that a number of Club members have enjoyed having The Cabaret as an entertainment option. One of the things that we love about cabaret and the arts is that it unites people in unexpected ways. The only challenges we did have were that many people thought that you had to be a member to come to our shows, which at times was a bit confusing for the public. I do think, however, that just the idea of a private club may have been intimidating for some audiences and that a new space may break down any perceived barriers and may feel more accessible to a variety of audiences.
Are you concerned that some of the Cabaret's branding will be lost when it's removed from the Columbia Club?
No. While we have been associated with The Columbia Club for many years, we feel our brand transcends a room. We have moved before. Our brand lies in the world-class performances we present, the atmosphere that we create and in the people that are sitting in the room. Cabaret has a spirit about it that is not bound by a certain space.