Benson Theatre’s mission is to engage, enhance and enrich the community through educational and artistic experiences. Located at 6054 Maple Street, renovations on the organization’s historic 1923 facility were completed in 2021, and the new Benson Theatre opened to the public in early 2022.
We are resolute in our commitment to be an inclusive, accessible space that is welcoming to everyone in our community. This strategic intention is reflected in our facility renovations, range of programs, diverse community partners, and focus on financial accessibility. We are proud to foster an organizational model that allows us to collaborate widely and support our community partners, allowing them to share their mission work with Benson, North Omaha, and the broader Omaha community.
What We Do
- Serve as a Community Resource & Shared Space: After 1.5 years of operations, we have discovered the greatest gap we can fill as a community-centered organization is the need for an affordable, accessible space with artistic technology and expertise. Available to nonprofits, artists, and small businesses, Benson Theatre invites community partners to bring programming to the Benson neighborhood that the community may not otherwise have access to. (75% of overall programming).
- Ensure Financial Accessibility for Community Partners via the “Community Fund”: With the goal of ensuring our communal space (including our top of the line technology and staff expertise) remains financially accessible to local artists and nonprofit partners, we recently created the “Community Fund.” Philanthropic support of this fund allows us to keep our rental pricing affordable for all community partners and offer further financial assistance via a need-based application process.
- Keep Ticket Prices Affordable: By offering a discounted rate on the space for artists and nonprofits, our partners are able to keep their ticket prices low or free of charge. To date, a significant portion of events at Benson Theatre have been free to the public and the average ticket price for paid events is roughly $15.
- Offer Collaborative Artistic and Educational Programming: Collaborative programming includes a broad scope of unique community partnerships between Benson Theatre and local nonprofits, artists, and businesses. These partnerships seek to increase the artistic and educational experiences offered within the Benson community, including film series, DEIA community conversations, arts education programming, financial education opportunities, and more. (20% of overall programming)
- Provide a First-Class Rental Space for Private Events: Available for personal/life occasions (weddings, reunions) and larger corporate events, Benson Theatre provides first-class facilities, security, technology, and staff for a broad range of private events. Event rentals provide an important earned revenue stream for the organization. (5% of overall programming)
- Increase Local Economic Impact: While we seek to grow the artistic and educational offerings available to the Benson community, we are also dedicated to bringing community members throughout the Omaha Metro Area into Benson, thus creating a positive economic impact.
Who We Serve
With the organization’s focus on inclusivity and accessibility, we serve the entire Omaha Metro Area. Within that, Benson Theatre further targets programming to the surrounding Benson neighborhood and adjacent North Omaha community, providing residents with greater access to an assortment of artistic and educational programming. The theatre also partners with local artists, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses, providing the environment, technology, and support that adds value and visibility to their event.
Further, Benson Theatre’s goal is to ensure that all programming fully reflects Omaha’s diverse community and the full range of artistic disciplines. This is accomplished through the utilization of a program planning and booking matrix that ensures diverse offerings and partnerships throughout each program year. Examples of community partners include: Benson Film Festival, Great Plains Theatre Commons, Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging (ENOA), Culxr House, OPS – Indigenous Students, 402 Arts Collective, McGuigan Arts Academy, and the UNO Department of Black Studies.
Our Community Impact
Through programming collaborations, a wide breadth of community partnerships, and a first-class rental facility, Benson Theatre impacts the community in a number of ways, including:
- Providing an inclusive and accessible gathering place for Omaha communities to connect through the power of artistic experiences and creative expression
- Serving as a community resource and affordable shared space where local nonprofits and artists can educate, entertain, and grow
- Offering the Benson and North Omaha communities artistic and educational experiences they might not otherwise have access to within their own neighborhood
- Bringing more people into Benson’s flourishing arts and entertainment district, creating new positive economic impact for the neighborhood
With the support of our philanthropic community, examples of our community impact to date include:
- Building a community of more than 130 programmatic partners
- Serving nearly 5,000 community members with a duplicated attendance of over 10,000 (demonstrating a strong rate of return)
- Holding more than 130 events (multiple performances of the same show counting as 1 event)