The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jan 06, 2011

Akron’s Big Night Out Series: Year One

Posted by Valerie Nahmad

By Akron Civic Theatre Staff

As we welcome 2011, the Big Night Out Series concludes its fourth month of operation and looks forward to a new year. The series was created in partnership with the Knight Foundation to increase the number of locally produced events at the Akron Civic Theatre, and it has definitely brought community-based programming to a new level. More specifically, it allows The Civic to work in partnership with other local organizations that would not otherwise been able to perform at the theater.

The series continues through May 2011, with the following events currently planned:

  • Festival of Nations (1/17)
  • Zobopago (1/23)
  • Dear Gabby presented by Firestone High School (2/2)
  • The University of Akron Confucius Institute (2/4)
  • Winter Dance Showcase featuring NEOS Dance Theatre and Verb Ballets (2/12)
  • Clarence Darrow presented by Actor’s Summit (2/16)
  • A Tribute to Patsy Cline presented by Logan Wells (2/24)
  • God’s Trombones presented by YEPAW (3/5)
  • Cleveland International Film Festival Akron Pre-View (3/16)
  • The Belle of Amherst presented by Actor’s Summit (5/11)

2010 was an equally rich year for the series. Here's a quick recap of the events:

  • On Sept. 26 the musical Seussical Jr., produced by the Kent Parks theater program, drew an amazing 1,555 people for a single performance!  The show featured a cast of 41.
  • On Nov. 7, the Cleveland-based Icho Daiko Taiko Drum Ensemble performed for 560 people (pictured).
  • Later in November, local actress and playwright Mary Faktor performed her play Six Ages of Woman in a cabaret set up for 186 people on The Civic stage.
  • On Dec. 15, The Musical Theatre Project presented A Christmas Cabaret on the Civic Stage to an enthusiastic response.
  • On Dec. 18, Akron-based singer Helen Welch’s Christmas Under the Stars proved to be a sensation, playing to 1,324 folks.  The show featured Helen, a four-piece jazz combo and over 120 voices from the choirs of ETC School of Musical Arts and the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
  • Additional local events made possible in part by Knight Foundation’s support included performances by Ballet Theatre of Ohio, the Akron Symphony, ETC School of Musical Arts’ Fall Premier, a CD release event showcasing Helen Welch’s new album Forever for Now and the world premier of the Mogadore Films docudrama More Than Chance. In total, 18 performances produced by local companies attracted over 15,300 people.


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