Shiel Sexton was excited to join the Phoenix Theatre on Tuesday, May 2nd as they broke ground on their brand new facility located at the intersection of N. Illinois St. and S. Walnut St. in Downtown Indianapolis! Since 1983, the Phoenix Theatre has been producing plays meant to address social issues and press the envelope of human thinking. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off with words from Producing Director Bryan Fonseca who shared about the enormous impact the theatre has had in its 33 years. The new structure, said Fonseca, will be the first new freestanding theatre built in the City of Indianapolis in the last 100 years – marking a milestone for the arts.
Other speakers at the event included Jeff Bennet, Deputy Mayor of Community Development for the City of Indianapolis, Vop Osili, City County Councilor for Marion County and Indianapolis, as well as Shiel Sexton’s own Managing Partner, Brian Sullivan, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
Frank Basile, one of the Phoenix Theatre’s Board of Directors, spoke about the significance of the theatre’s work and how important it has been for the Pheonix to maintain a strong voice on often touchy social issues. The shows, said Basile, have opened minds and inspired change. Two of the Phoenix Theatre’s founding artists, Deb Sargent-Shaver and Gale Steigerwald followed with an amusingly heartfelt presentation, thanking Bryan Fonseca for his many years as Producing Director.
Attendees then gathered on the grounds of the future building to witness and participate in a shovel ceremony where many groups of stakeholders took turns turning dirt to kick off construction of the new facility.