My loving wife and family (the local ones, anyway) accompanied me yesterday to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, the vibrant Washington Park (above), and the grand opening of the Otto M. Budig Theater, the brand new home of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
I was so excited to see this dream become a reality–and to be greeted (below) by Hamlet himself. Get it? “Ham”let? Oh, come on, it’s funny.
My family availed themselves of the activities (above) set up in the lobby (they chose not to get their faces painted, though; what’s up with that?), while I waited in line (below, snaking around the refreshments bar) for the free tour.
I’m so glad I did. The Otto M. Budig Theater seats 230; there are only six rows and no seat (including the balcony) is more than twenty feet from the stage, which is an intentional attempt to preserve the intimacy that has marked CSC performances for decades and puts audience members closer to the performance than any other venue in the region. Set designers were hard at work preparing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which opens on September 8.
The second-floor rehearsal space (above) is visible from inside and outside of the theater; when our tour started, a rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream was taking place.
Attention to detail is evident throughout the theater, from the names of the Bard’s plays on the lobby steps to the sink in the upper level washroom (above), which features a line from Macbeth’s second act: “A little water clears us of this deed.”
We got to see the costuming area, where designs (and wigs) for the upcoming production were displayed.
The above photo shows one of two ironing stations in the costume design area.
And there are several rooms for costume storage. The company always does a great job with costumes, makeup, sets, staging, etc.
There is just so much to like about the Otto M. Budig Theater. I love the concrete, metal, and barn wood (from each of the three states in the area) construction, which will endure well over the years. The intimate performance space is perfect. The large lobby and concessions area will no longer require traffic management. And the parking garage across the street, under Washington Park, will allow ample parking, as well as easy coming and going.
The “family festival,” hosted by Cincinnati’s Arts Wave, also included an evening performance in Washington Park of Romeo and Juliet. I would have loved to stay, but a certain two-year-old and five-year-old were not quite ready for their first Shakespeare on that particular evening. Anon, alas.