Hancher Auditorium is one of the University of Iowa facilities that was damaged by flooding about one year ago — and one of the buildings that will have to be rebuilt away from the river. That setback isn’t keeping Hancher from hosting a full season of events this year.
Executive director Charles Swanson says they’ll run their performing arts season in 11 different locations. Swanson says Hancher has always been more than just a facility s they’ve held events outside the building during regular times.
He says without a building they’ve been forced to spread out even more, and he says it’s a challenging time, but they will continue to be creative. The 11 venues this year include Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Chicago and Riverside, as well as the U-I campus and Iowa City.
Swanson says they may find an opportunity to add more things throughout the season and get up to 13 or 14 venues. "I’ve telling everyone at this point it truly is an adventure," Swanson says. Swanson says it was important to have a full season of events this year, even though they don’t have one home base for them.
He says Hancher has been in existence for 36 years and is really a big part of people’s lives. Swanson says he’s heard from people who miss gathering at the building and in the lobby, but are pleased to still get the performances. Since the flood all the offices of Hancher have been together, but Swanson says the box office has now moved to the Old Capitol Mall. He says the changes have required extra work from the staff.
Swanson says the box office has to do 11 different seating charts for each event, and they have to go and get stage equipment at Hancher to set up in other venues. He says they also have to discuss the different technical needs of the artists as different venues.
Swanson says the staff has done a great job of adapting to the changes brought on the flood. You can find the complete schedule of events on-line at the Hancher website , or by calling 1-800-HANCHER.