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Ivory Theatre

The Ivory Theatre at 7620 Michigan Avenue in St. Louis. Google Earth photo

The Ivory Theatre in Carondelet has been donated to the Carondelet Leadership Academy, a charter school.

The academy already occupies the old St. Boniface school, and the theater is in the old St. Boniface church at 7620 Michigan Avenue. Pete Rothschild bought the St. Boniface complex for $1.15 million in 2005. Rothschild is a real-estate developer whose Rothschild Development Co. is involved in redevelopment of commercial and residential buildings, many of them in the Central West End. 

After a $2 million-plus renovation, the old church reopened as the Ivory, a 250-seat theater, 10 years ago. Many St. Louis theater companies and some tours have performed there; currently, St. Louis Shakespeare makes the Ivory its home.

With Rothschild's donation of the Ivory, the Carondelet Leadership Academy will occupy most of its block. The academy opened in 2010. Today, it has more than 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Patrice Coffin, the school's executive director, called the Ivory “an exciting addition to our school community” that will house existing arts and music programs and allow them to expand.

Suki Peters, artistic director of St. Louis Shakespeare, said she hopes that the troupe will be able to contribute to the school's arts expansion in various ways, such as providing teaching artists and enrichment activities. But right now, she doesn't know what the future holds for the company.

Peters said the change caught the troupe off-guard, although it has shows booked at the Ivory into next season. Its next production, “The Comedy of Errors,” is scheduled to open at the Ivory on March 31.

Judith Newmark is the theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.