Another Win for Downtown South Bend: Pop-Up Program Participant Studio 217 Finalizing Permanent Lease for Downtown

January 22, 2013 — It was just a couple of weeks ago that the third annual Holiday Pop-Up shop program drew to a close, and with those final days came the announcement that pop-up shop participant South Bend Brew Werks would be here to stay in their location in front of the State Theater.

Meanwhile, another participant, Studio 217 by the Acting Ensemble Stage Company had been working in the background to turn their temporary home into a permanent one. Throughout the course of the pop-up program Studio 217 held StageWorks (stage readings), free Story Time children’s readings, and a full production of Cricket on the Hearth. In addition to StageWorks and full productions, future activities in the space will include Young at Heart acting workshops for those 55 and older.

The pop-up location was met with great enthusiasm by their clientele. They played to packed houses and happy audience members. “One thing that caught me a little by surprised was the overwhelming enthusiasm our patrons who came to see us at the Studio had for the space. They all spoke about how great the space could be for us and grasped the vision of what it could become.” States Artistic Director James Geisel. Their clientele also complimented the ease of access, the plentiful and nearby parking, and the urban feel of the space.

The Acting Ensemble, Northern Indiana’s most dynamic repertory theater, originally was in residence at the Colfax Cultural Center when it was first formed in 1984. After a period of dormancy, the company reemerged in 2010 to bring new and innovative theatre to the area, renting space by the day from Century Center and Saint Mary’s College. Now with Studio 217, the theatre company has its own permanent space allowing it to expand its programming and extending the number of performances. “One of the projects that I’m most proud of that we did in the Studio was the free Story Time children’s readings and now having reasonable rent, we can do more of this kind of free theater.” States Geisel.

“The 2012 program boasted the most diverse group of participants appealing to a broader population than any of the prior years, and it looks like that diversity is paying dividends for the downtown. The retention of a second participant adds to the ongoing success of the pop-up shop program” states Tamara Nicholl-Smith, Director Downtown Business Recruitment.

This is the first year the program had incorporated a performance venue into the mix, but the timing was right. An ideal space came available in the South Bend Heritage owned building that houses Downtown South Bend.

“Supporting the arts has been a core component of our mission at South Bend Heritage Foundation for over three decades, and we’re very pleased to welcome Studio 217 to our Robertson’s Building. We’re excited to watch them grow and become an even stronger presence in the downtown arts community. ” States Marco Mariani, Executive Director, South Bend Heritage


Tamara Nicholl-Smith
Director, Downtown Business Recruitment
Downtown South Bend, Inc.
217 S. Michigan Street
South Bend, IN 46601
P: 574.282.1110

James Geisel
Artistic Director
The Acting Ensemble Stage Company
P. O. Box 756
South Bend, IN 46624
P: 574- 344-1209

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