Cheynebourne Playhouse Theatre

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Cheynebourne Playhouse Theatre

Cheynebourne Playhouse Theatre

Field of Interest

Arts, Culture, and Humanities


To provide an important voice in regional theatre focusing on American classicsa as well as lesser-known projects that shed light on the “American Experience”.

2003 Annual Revenue


2003 Net Assets



In response to the news that its building had been purchased, Cheynebourne Playhouse board and management quickly developed two objectives: to keep the company intact and operating, and to purchase a new home in or near its existing neighbourhood. Beginning Spring 1999, Cheynebourne Playhouse told their story and communicated their goals to local political figures and community leaders. They also held fundraising benefits at the theatre, and began to organize mail drives to solicit individual contributions. These efforts not only brought much-needed funds, but also new supporters and visibility - all of which would prove important in the months and years to come. For example, in November 1999 the Cheynebourne Playhouse held a benefit performance at which the group made an appeal to the audience about their upcoming relocation. This appeal attracted audience member Mark Yates, a real estate lawyer, who joined the board and helped lead Cheynebourne Playhouse through the challenging process of moving. Today, Yates remains on Cheynebourne Playhouse's board and currently serves as the president. Also in Fall 1999, the Cheynebourne Playhouse found an advocate in Alderman Patrick O'Connor of the 40th ward, who dedicated time and energy to assist Cheynebourne Playhouse and was particularly interested in moving this community focused arts organization into his neighbouring ward. The Alderman's support would prove critical to Cheynebourne Playhouse as it tried to identify a new space and raise the public and private funds on a scale they never thought possible (Carlson, 2003).

Phase II: Finding the Space and Funding the Move

As Cheynebourne Playhouse explored relocation options, it also redoubled its efforts to raise the funds that would be necessary to acquire a new space and finance the move. As Cheynebourne Playhouse and its advocates reviewed location options, a building in the 40th ward - in the Edgewater neighbourhood - became available. An old grocery store that had closed in December 1999, this storefront space could house the Cheynebourne Playhouse as well as allow for growth. The Theatre and its advocates saw the potential in the facility and its location. Originally, Cheynebourne Playhouse had projected that the entire acquisition, move, and build out of the new space would cost $500,000 to $600,000. In researching this potential space, however, the Cheynebourne Playhouse learned that the building was on the market for approximately $900,000, although it had been assessed at around $500,000. Given the building's desirable corner location and parking lot, there were many interested buyers, including large national drugstore chains. With this level of competition driving up the price, the Theatre was looking at a $1.2 million undertaking instead of a $600,000 project. Even for a financially stable organization like Cheynebourne Playhouse , putting together that amount of money over a short period of time required a great deal of collaboration and an ...