Theater Works stays in downtown Peoria, extends contract with city into 2028

Shandi Ilyse as Ursula and Amanda Glenn as Ariel, in Theater Works’ most recent production, “The Little Mermaid,” running July 13-22. The city of Peoria and Theater Works amended their contracts for the theater company to remain at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts into 2028. [Submitted photo/Josiah Duka]

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

City mainstay Theater Works will remain the anchor tenant and continue to manage the 20,000 square-foot Peoria Center for the Performing Arts into 2028.

City Council unanimously approved new lease and operating agreements with the company, June 19.

Mayor Cathy Carlat said Theater Works is a terrific community partner deeply woven into the fabric of the community.

“By offering a variety of performing arts experiences including youth theater, comedy, and many of the classic performances we know and love, Theater Works enhances the cultural and economic value of our city each and every day,” Ms. Carlat said. “We are pleased to continue this outstanding partnership and look forward to many more years of enrichment.”

The new contracts will include key differences compared to previous agreements in which Theater Works retained all revenues from all sources. In the new agreement, the city will receive a 50 percent share of rental fees and city programmed revenues, effective July 1, 2020.

Previously, Theater Works had been responsible for internal facility maintenance and utilities, but the city will be responsible for that under the new agreement.

Parks and Recreation Director John Sefton said the additional revenue going to the city will ensure the facility is appropriately funded from year to year to address regular repairs and maintenance, and allows Theater Works to assist in the community rentals and city events without concern of loss of revenue or sacrificing their own programming.

It creates the best scenario for diverse programming and managing the facility, he said.

“Theater Works will focus on creating and supporting the arts, which is their specialty,” Mr. Sefton said. “The city is better equipped to manage the facility and ensure that maintenance and repairs are prioritized and handled appropriately.”

The theater has a $1 per year lease payment and $1 per ticket surcharge for building repair and maintenance that will remain in the new agreement.

“For this lease, Theater Works is providing a value to the city and by such, is deemed a community benefit. The lease becomes the formal, recorded document to detail the parameters and clauses of the use of the facility space,” he said.

The center is made up of a 274-seat main stage auditorium, a flexible 60-seat black box theater, two classrooms, a lobby, dressing rooms, backstage support areas and office space for the theater company.

The Peoria Center for the Performing Arts 10580 N. 83rd Dr., is owned by the city but has been operated and managed by Theater Works since it opened in 2006. The facility is host to about 750 events per year that bring, on average, 65,000 visitors to Old Town Peoria.

Last year, the city bought two downtown parcels and began the process of branding the area with the intention to create shovel-ready sites to attract developers, and ultimately improve the area.

Mr. Sefton said the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts and the variety of programming coordinated by Theater Works are major contributors to ensuring Old Town Peoria is a destination for community and professional performing arts.

“One of the inspirations behind the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts was the city’s dedication to the energy and creativity of Peoria’s Old Town,” he said. “The partnership between the PCPA and Theater Works will help preserve Peoria’s reputation as a premier destination for arts and culture.”

The agreements were reviewed and unanimously approved by the Theater Works Board of Directors March 13.  The two documents were reviewed and discussed by the Peoria City Council at a previous executive session and approved June 19.

Theater Works Managing Director Cate Hinkle said patrons, designers, actors, musicians, dancers and artists have all been a part of the magic created between the city of Peoria and Theater Works at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts over the last 11 years.

“This next decade will allow us to expand and grow opportunities for the community to engage in high-quality performing arts experiences, and we will continue to work alongside the city to provide opportunities for every citizen of Peoria, whether artist or patron, to experience the transformative power of the performing arts,” she said.



If you go
What: Theater Work’s newest production, “The Little Mermaid”
When: July 13-22
Where: Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive
More info:; 623-815-1791

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