Riverside Park Restoration to Create Permanent Home for Indianapolis Shakespeare Company

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Riverside Park Restoration to Create Permanent Home for Indianapolis Shakespeare Company

Amphitheater project to be accompanied by repairs to memorial honoring 1890s Mayor Thomas Taggart

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A $9.2 million grant will create a new Indianapolis theater, and repair a memorial to the father of Indy’s parks system.

The Lilly Endowment grant will pay for construction of an amphitheater in Riverside Park, which will become the permanent home of  the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company. IndyShakes has staged productions in White River State Park for 10 years, but performed "Hamlet" in Riverside Park this summer. 

IndyShakes artistic director Diane Timmerman says the amphitheater is a "dream come true" for the decade-old company. She likens the planned amphitheater to an outdoor Lincoln Center, with state-of-the-art lighting and acoustics. But she says it's equally significant that the company will be rooted in a specific neighborhood for the first time. She says IndyShakes is already forming connections with community organizations.

At the back of the amphitheater stage will be the other major piece of the Riverside project: the restoration of the decaying two-story monument to Thomas Taggart, the turn-of-the-century Indianapolis mayor whose acquisition of a thousand acres along the White River gave birth to the Indianapolis parks department. Indiana Landmarks president Marsh Davis says the arched memorial has been neglected for years, and the marble-and-stone structure has fallen into disrepair.

Davis says an Indiana Landmarks-led stabilization project six years ago, including the addition of a roof to protect the monument from water damage, likely kept the monument from crumbling completely. The restoration project will repair some damaged stones, and replace unsalvageable ones with newly cut stones.

The project is scheduled to be complete next year.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett speaks in front of the memorial to one of his predecessors, Thomas Taggart. (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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