In a 1999 article in The New York Times, Alvin Klein wrote about the growth of "second stages" as commercial theatres' venues in which to mount smaller-scale productions sometimes of lesser-known works (though not always).
Klein explained the benefits of such spaces.
"For audiences, the comparative intimacy of second stages provides a way to learn, or relearn, the art of listening -- an art increasingly endangered in the theater since the invasion of rock 'n' roll, noise pollution and amplification -- and behavioral skills. (Funny how one rarely hears the crinkling of candy wrappers or the sound of coughing in small theaters.) For regional playhouses, they represent the promise of reinventing theater for the 21st century, and the most assured way of having it all," he wrote.
You can read the entire article here.
My greatest pleasure about this article is knowing that while it was written about commercial theatre in the New York region, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette was already entrenched in a tradition of producing shows for its Stage II season, shows that might have had content that was more adult or edgy than other shows. While that particular form of programming is not at Civic today, it's apparent that Civic leadership has long seen the need to provide a variety artistic endeavors for both volunteers and audiences alike. That may be how best to explain that Civic Theatre offers four different seasons a year -- Mainstage, Civic Youth Theatre, Civic Under the Stars and the Staged Readings -- in two or three different venues during the year.
Not only does Civic Theatre have a "second space" in terms of physical locations of productions, thanks to the Tippecanoe County Amphitheatre and also the Long Center for the Performing Arts, but it also has multiple programming options to deliver four different seasons to its patrons and volunteers.