CHICAGO — After 24 years, the Emerald City Theatre will close its doors at the end of January.
Emerald City, located at 2936 North Southport Avenue, made the announcement Friday. Operators said barring a last-minute major contribution, they will have to close because of increased program costs and decreased revenue.
The hit show "Corduroy" runs through Jan. 5 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.
The theater will also still operate its popular winter camp for kids ages three to 15.
Karen and Alyn Cardarelli founded Emerald City in a storefront in 1996. It has since grown to Chicago's largest theater for young audiences, serving more than 60,000 people a year through its shows, classes and camps.
It is the largest theater arts education program in Chicago. Those who have seen and loved their performances are sad to hear the news.
"While I was growing up, we used to see shows here so it's really sad that these little guys aren't going to be able to do the same if they don't get their funding, and with Chicago being a big theater town too it's really sad to lose that" said Lora Bartocci.
The company has created over 100 productions in downtown Chicago, Lakeview and Lincoln Park.
One Fund, the theater's community engagement program, promotes increased literacy by providing more than 100,000 free plays and companion books to students at low-resourced Chicago Public Schools.
The company has also produced shows on major stages such as Victory Gardens and the Apollo theaters.
Emerald City released a statement saying:
"We are grateful for our extraordinary audiences, artists, educators, and community, who generosity have allowed ECT to carry out its mission for over two decades. Together, we have collaborated with thousands of children and their grown-ups across Chicago to develop skills to creatively face the world."