After years of changing venues, Springfield Contemporary Theatre Inc. has a new longer-term home downtown.
The nonprofit theater reached a deal with the History Museum on the Square Inc. to occupy the Fox Theatre as its primary venue for "productions in the coming seasons," according to a news release. Sean FitzGibbons, executive director of History Museum on the Square, said via email the agreement with SCT is a profit share for an undisclosed amount during the upcoming season.
SCT will be the first resident company of the Fox Theatre starting in June.
"To say there have been a lot of plans in the works over the past several months would be an understatement," said Rick Dines, SCT managing artist director, in the release. "We have forged a new partnership that will bring SCT back to downtown Springfield and have lined up a new slate of shows to showcase SCT in that venue."
Upcoming SCT shows scheduled at the Fox Theatre include "Urinetown," "Big Fish" and "Treasure Island." SCT is entering its 28th season this fall. A trial run was held in February, when "The Color Purple" was shown at the Fox Theatre as a partnership between the History Museum, SCT and the Mosaic Arts Collective.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCT was in search of a new home due to size limitations at its center stage venue at Wilhoit Plaza. Its lease there was not renewed in January 2021, and the organization moved day-to-day operations to 2025 E. Chestnut Expressway, Ste. D.
"SCT has spent the last two years presenting performances digitally, at the Springfield Art Museum, at Mother’s Brewing Co. and on the back lot of its operations center," officials said in the release. "In fall 2022, while searching for a new permanent or semipermanent home, the staff at the History Museum on the Square sent an inquiry to SCT about the historic Fox Theatre as a viable venue for its productions."
The History Museum purchased the Fox Theatre in 2012 as part of its expansion project that moved the museum downtown, according to past reporting. The Fox originally opened in 1916 as a movie theater, according to its website.
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