Mike Garvey’s new Wichita Center for the Performing Arts has landed another tenant, and it’s one that’s familiar with the space.
Wichita Children’s Theatre & Dance Center has signed a contract to stage eight events there from March to July.
“For the first time, we are taking all of our productions out there,” says Monica Flynn, the theater’s executive director.
Flynn says the theater in the building, which is where Mark Arts currently is at 9112 E. Central, was built for Wichita Children’s Theatre. The nonprofit has had performances there on and off since 1984.
All of its “Once Upon A Time” shows, which are participatory shows performed by professional adult actors, will move to the theater.
“They are our largest audience shows,” Flynn says.
At the company’s main address at 201 S. Lulu St., there’s no stationary seating. Children sit on the floor and adults sit around the edges in folding chairs. The space holds only about 200 people.
Seating at the theater on East Central can accommodate more than 400.
“I’m doing it for us to be able to increase our audiences … and also for the public to have comfort of sitting in seats to give them a complete theater experience,” Flynn says. “That’s the biggest thing.”
Classes still will be held on Lulu, though Flynn is working on a deal to possibly move some of those to the center, too.
Garvey, who is president of Builders Inc., used to perform on the stage at the building he now owns.
He envisions his center as a place for children to act, sing, dance, do magic, sword fighting and even hula hooping.
The first Children’s Theatre performance will be the debut of “Kibby the Space Dog,” a production based on Wichita author Andrea Cassell’s book of the same name.
Flynn says she’s looking forward to this new phase for the theater in new, albeit familiar, space.
She says it’s about “enabling us to grow and be in that facility that was basically built for children’s theater.”