Professional Theater is Coming to Hannibal

In the summer of 2014, Hannibal will add professional theater performances to its summer schedule of cultural activities.  Bluff City Theater is a new non-profit professional theater company dedicated to providing top-quality live performances to residents and visitors from July to September. Our artistic vision is to focus on works that bridge the gap between literature and the stage – plays that derive from books, are about characters in literature or the authors who wrote them.  We’ll present, drama, comedy and musical theater.  Our performances are intimate and showcase the continent’s best actors, musicians, directors and playwrights.  We’ll produce under-performed or unappreciated plays and popular works done in a new and novel way.

Why Theater?  Why Hannibal?

Live theater enriches the lives of our residents because it engages the imagination and emotion of audiences in a way that no other art form can.  Hannibal has a rich and storied tradition of live theater dating back to it foundations and evidenced by three vaudeville houses and names like The Orpheum and The Ice House, The Becky Thatcher and The Planter’s Barn.  Live theater taps into Hannibal’s aspirations as a cultural destination, already richly served by our human heritage and our vibrant visual arts community.  Successful live theater has the potential to bring visitors back again and again to experience our unique community.

Hannibal has produced more than it’s fair share of iconic cultural successes. Perhaps it has something to do with our deep roots, our history, our schools or our geographic location, but each generation of Hannilbalians has produced one or more cultural icons in America.   A theater culture will help incubate and nurture a new generation of performers and producers.  Hannibal is well-positioned as a cultural destination, with more than 15 million people living within a four-hour drive of the city. 

Our Business Plan

Baby steps….  Building a new cultural institution requires the passion and support of a great many people.  Building a sustainable audience requires time, resources and reliable access to an affordable performing space or spaces.  Our business plan calls for the development of all these things over the next few years, leading to a sustainable cultural institution that contributes greatly to both the quality of life for those who live here and a serendipitous cultural experience for those who visit.

Lacking a suitable space, our 2014 season will feature one play,  Tales of an Urban Indian, performed entirely on a moving transit bus.  This play is engaging, iconic and unique and represents the kind of innovation we intend to bring to our performances.  Up to 2200 tickets are available over the full season.  Subsequent seasons will evolve as support and budget permits.  We intend to develop as an Equity, professional small ensemble theater that will partner experienced professionals with promising local talent.

Our plans call for the development of a small black-box theater that will give quality performance space for us and many other local performers in amateur theater, dance, diverse music forms including classical, popular, jazz and modern and film.  It will serve the entire community as a talent incubator for youth and established local performers – a place for performers to call home.

Our theater will be located in the downtown because we believe that is the distinctive heart of our community and because we believe a strong downtown leads to a strong identity as a community.

Our Commitment to Youth

Inherent in our mandate is that youth play a key role in everything we do. From our expectation that at least one play each year will derive from an author of literature for children to our extensive programs for youth, BCT will put youth engagement at the top of our priorities.  We have designated a board member solely responsible for developing and overseeing a youth engagement curriculum.  Initial plans call for the following programs:

  • Youth summer camps for school-aged children to 14

  • An inclusive full-year mentor-ship program, in cooperation with the schools for youth 14-18

  • Co-op placements

  • Artists in the Classroom

  • Dedicated matinée performances for schools

  • Bring your parents to the theater free ticket program

  • A financial support program for children from low-income families

Why Sponsor Bluff City Theater?

Sponsorship is both a business decision and an emotional one.  We can only succeed and thrive with the support of hundreds and thousands of local citizens as volunteers, subscribers, donors, sponsors and subscribers.  Your commitment to sponsorship tells Hannibal that you believe in the community and are willing to support initiatives that benefit the citizens who live here.  Even if you do not see yourself as a “theater person”  you recognize a rich cultural experience is important.

At the same time, your sponsorship positions you in front of the theater-going audience.  Theater audiences are more affluent, more educated and more likely to support businesses which align themselves with the arts.  Because of the innovative nature of our programming, our theater audiences are younger than normal.  Theater-goers are most likely to browse, eat and drink before or after a performance, increasing economic activity in the community.

We are a volunteer board and executive.  All of your support goes to further the aims of the organization, back into the community to build a successful, sustainable theater culture in Hannibal for the benefit of the citizens, young and old alike.

Sponsorship Benefits

There are four levels of sponsorship available – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.  Each level comes with its own set of benefits but all of them engage you in the organization through our performances and special events.  Our aim is to make the entire experience fun and entertaining as well as important.

Theater is not just performances-its about seeing and experiencing the world in a new and exciting way.  It’s about having fun and being imaginative.  It’s about the child in all of us.

Come experience theater with us! Contact to discuss becoming a corporate sponsor.

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