Bluff City Theater offers free performances in May with help from Riedel Foundation

Bluff City Theater

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Bluff City Theater has earned a $6,000 matching grant from the George H. Riedel Foundation to support its mission of providing free performances in Hannibal.

Riedel trustees challenged Bluff City Theater to raise $6,000 in donations with the foundation matching that amount. A $1,500 donation from the O’Donnell Funeral Home put the theater over the top in its fundraising efforts.

Bluff City recently wrapped up its first free performance of the spring season, often playing to a full house. Its latest free performance is set to running daily through May 20 at the pavilion on the Hannibal riverfront.

In a press release, executive director Joe Anderson said, “Since 2021, our mission has been to make our theater more accessible and audience-diverse in race, age and income by removing the financial barrier to attendance. There is no other theater company in America that we are aware of attempting this. Live theater is an important art form that introduces ideas and perspectives that might otherwise not be heard here in this underserved part of the state.”

The Riedel Foundation has awarded nearly $80,000 to Bluff City Theater in the last decade.

“The most recent grants to Bluff City have helped the theater transition from paid admission to free tickets,” Riedel trustee Paul Richards said. “We support the arts and this grant allows Hannibal residents to experience the kind of live, professional theater that you normally find only in much larger cities.”  

Bluff City will run a comedy play in May and a drama based on the Stephen King book “Misery” in June, presented with free admission in partnership with the Riedel Foundation.

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