Piven Theatre Workshop says it’s asking the City Council to table its proposal to expand at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in light of recent discussions of a downtown performing arts facility. 

At the July 8 City Council meeting, Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, proposed looking to a downtown location for a performing arts facility that Piven and other theater groups could call home.

“The primary importance for us is to find Piven a dynamic, sustainable home in the immediate future,” Piven’s Executive Director, Leslie Brown, said in a statement.

“We have worked on a plan to improve our facilities in Noyes for more than two years, and while Piven is open to discussing Downtown Evanston as a possible home, it is one of several exciting options, both in and outside of Evanston, that have become available to us.” 

Piven has been based at Noyes since the mid-1970s.

“The city of Evanston came to us” seeking a plan for Noyes, said Joyce Piven, founder and artistic director emeritus, “and we gave them what we thought to be a very sound proposal for Noyes. We have significant internal resources to do the same anywhere and we will find the right space for our professional theatre and training center.”

The concept of a downtown performing arts center has been discussed in three studies released in the past two years – The Varsity Theatre Study, the NEA Study, and the EvanstArts study.

“There has been no shortage of discussion in our community about the arts,” said Brown. “We look forward to exploring the possibilities with Evanston, yet we remain realistic in the process.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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