Evolution Theatre Inc. dba Evolution Theatre Company
Give Now

PO Box 21072
Columbus, OH 43221
Mr. Mark Phillips Schwamberger  
Social Media
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Mark Phillips Schwamberger
Managing Artistic Director
Board Chair
Mr. Wayne Cocchi
Retired, Columbus State Community College

Provide encouragement & support of expression to the LGBTQQIA community through creative performance arts; spread awareness of gender issues; & bring dignity, tolerance & acceptance for the community.

Organization Overview

Impact Statement


  • In order to help eliminate the financial barrier that exists to attending live theatre events, we initiated a no-fee online ticketing program; this increased online sales by 65%.

  • For the third year in a row, we received project support grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council. The Ohio Arts Council also invited us to submit a sustaining grant proposal for the upcoming year.

  • Our audience attendance grew by an additional 30% from the previous year, and has nearly doubled since our first full season.

  • Due to the attractive pricing structure and the season of shows never before seen in the Columbus area, our season subscriptions grew by 85%.

  • We received a grant from The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation located in New York City. Known for awarding projects, this was the first grant they awarded to an organization for the importance of the work they have done for the community.


  • We will highlight the historical accomplishments of the LGBT community with YANK! The Musical, a true story about lesbians and gays that fought during WWII, and The Temperamentals, a true story about the first gay rights organization in the 1950s.

  • We will increase audience attendance by an additional 40% to continue to broaden the education and exposure of and for the LGBTQQIA community.

  • We will emphasize the importance of unconditional family love and acceptance for all LGBTs and the absurdity of bigotry and discrimination by presenting Sordid Lives, a comedy classic and Zanna Don't: A Musical Fantasy, where the norm is to be gay.

  • We will increase funding, budgets, and revenue so that we can offer more competitive compensation for our artistic and administrative staff, thus attracting the best of the profession locally.

Background Statement

In January 2008, Paul Lockwood founded Evolution Theatre Company and produced its first production Stone Cold Dead Serious as Evolution Theatre Company LLC. in the former Mad Lab location. In 2009, the company moved to the Van Fleet Theatre in the Columbus Performing Arts Center. In May 2009, Mark Phillips Schwamberger joined the company as executive director, and in 2010, the company performed its first musical Boy Meets Boy at the Studio One Theatre in the Riffe Center. In July 2011, the company was reorganized, and the LLC was dissolved and reformed as Evolution Theatre Inc. dba Evolution Theatre Company with managing artistic director, Mark Phillips Schwamberger. A new board was put into place, including Paul Lockwood and, in July 2012, the corporation received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

In 2012, the company's new home became the Columbus Performing Arts Center. For the following consecutive years, the company received grants from Greater Columbus Arts Council and Ohio Arts Council. In 2014, the company received a grant from The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, New York City, the first time they gave a grant to a company as a whole rather than for a project. In 2015, the company rebranded itself as Columbus' LGBTQQIA Theatre Company.

Our past productions include: The first ever Festival of Plays by Adam Rapp (including Pulitzer Prize winner Red Light Winter); The Bicentennial Local Playwrights Festival (in association with CATCO); the world premieres of I'll Take Romance by Edwin Sanchez: The Shakespeare Conspiracy (based on the novel by Ted Bacino); The Present Moment by award-winning local playwright Cory Skurdal; How I Stepped Out as Transvestite from Blunderland by Rufus Cadigan (which was also our first production staged outside of the area in Fort Lauderdale, FL);Tropical Heat and Skin Deep by Rich Orloff; and numerous area premieres of recent Off-Broadway hits. We continue to bring new and innovation theatre to Columbus.

Statement from Mr. Mark Phillips Schwamberger, Managing Artistic Director

Acceptance, tolerance, and respect cannot be legislated. These come to society through education. There have been countless studies conducted over the years that prove entertainment media has a powerful influence on all of us. Clearly then, it teaches us something about ourselves as we map new meaning into our own experiences, based on what we see. It also teaches us a lot about others, often in unconscious ways. The growing interest in the media’s enlightening impact is evidenced by the fact that the Harvard Educational Review devoted an entire issue to entertainment’s role in education. They note the tendency of entertainment to change, challenge, and influence one’s perceptions and ideas regarding race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

We are Columbus’ LGBTQQIA theatre company with a mission to advance the understanding of gender issues and foster the expression of creative performance arts by and about the community. Our goal is to, indeed, educate through entertainment.

Statement from Mr. Wayne Cocchi , Retired, Columbus State Community College

Evolution Theatre Company has become the only local theatre company in Columbus to focus its mission and vision on staging productions that bring to the forefront issues common to those in the LGBT community. Through our productions, we have been successful in helping to build acceptance and understanding by providing a theatrical experience that enhances the awareness of, and education to, the Columbus and central Ohio community. Our company, performers, and production teams have also been recognized locally and nationally by awards and small grants for our efforts. The challenges we tend to face are obtaining a stable base of financial supporters, as well as consistently attracting audience members to attend each of our productions, whether they are from the local LGBT community or the general community as a whole. As the company continues to grow, we look forward to building on the items we have identified as challenges, as well as our successes.



Mr. Mark Phillips Schwamberger, 
Term Start 8/2009 
Compensated No 
Biographical Statement

Mark's theatrical career spans over 30 years as an actor, director, and producer in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida. In NYC, he was involved with Earl Wilson Jr.'s hit musical, Let My People Come and The Charles Pierce Show at the famed Village Gate Theatre; The Me No Body Knows at The Cherry Lane; various shows at Town Hall and The Roundabout Theatre. Regionally, in world premieres, he originated the role of Major Vadim in White Russian; Lord Walsingham in The Shakespeare Conspiracy; Bill in How I Stepped Out as a Transvestite from Blunderland, a one man show; the characters of Morton Silkline in the The Funeral and Henry Krueger in Oni both movies directed by Chris Dukes. He received a B.A. in theatre for The Ohio State University. He is also an award-winning playwright for The Story of Boo and Beep and Pandora’s Jar. In the corporate world, Mark had a career in the  IT, marketing, and business development fields with Bank One/Chase, SunTrust Corp, and Metavante Corp.

Mr. Brent Ries, 
Biographical Statement

Brent joined Evolution Theatre Company in 2015. He received his BFA in theatre from Roosevelt University, a MFA in contemorary performance from Naropa University, and a MFA in theatre from The Ohio State University. His theatrical experience spans more than 15 years, which includes theatre in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major U.S. cities. He has appeared in many musicals and plays at notable theaters, such as Bailiwick, The Tamarind Theatre, Pheasant Run Theatre, and with companies such as the South Bay Civic Light Opera, Saddleback Civic Light Opera, and the National Theatre for Children. Brent is also a certified yoga instructor and a licensed esthetician.

Additional Organization Information
Number of Full-Time Staff:
Number of Part-Time Staff:
Number of Volunteers:
Staff Retention Rate:


Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Fundraising Plan No
Management Succession/Training Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Strategic Plan No
Additional Organization Information

We rehearse in space provided by Stonewall Center on High; use technical staff employed by CATCO; and use set and costumes from The Ohio State University.


Local Governing Board
Board Chair Mr. Wayne Cocchi,
Board Chair Term 10/2014 -  10/2017  
Board Members
Mr. Paul Lockwood,  
Mr. Mark Phillips Schwamberger,  
Mr. Cory Skurdal,  
Mr. Douglas Whaley,  
Additional Organization Information
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 100% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 100%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 80%
Gender Female 0%
  Male 100%
Race African-American/Black 0%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 100%
  Hispanic/Latino 0%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 0%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.


Visiting Artists

Each year, we bring in nationally known artists and entertainers that are on the forefront of the LGBTQQIA community. Since many of these one night performances are in conjunction with fundraising events, the artists and entertainers graciously reduce their performance fee so that they are more assessable to the Columbus-area audience. For many of these artists and entertainers, this is their first exposure to the central Ohio area and the community. This year, we will bring Mr. Del Shores, author of the comedy classes Sordid Lives, Southern Baptist Sissies, Yellow, and the soon-to-be-release feature film A Very Sordid Wedding. We will also be bring in Miss Coco Peru, the drag persona of American actor, comedian, and performer Clinton Leupp, known for his role in the 1999 independent feature film Trick and for his series of live theater performances.

Give Now »

Main Stage Series

Our main stage series is performed at the Columbus Performing Arts Center. We hold four to five productions each year, utilizing the best artistic and technical professional local talent. Our shows are chosen from recent Broadway and Off-Broadway plays and musicals, and from new works originated by other regional LGBTQQIA theatre companies. We also put on world premieres of works from new emerging playwrights and composers. Our past productions include bare:A Pop Opera, YANK! The Musical, Sons of the Prophet, How I Stepped Out as a Transvestite from BLUNDERLAND, and The Temperamentals. Our future productions will include Sordid Lives, Zanna Don't, Book of Merman, and many more!

Give Now »

Visiting Playwrights

Throughout the year, we present workshops and classes from visiting playwrights. Playwright workshops are conducted by well-known playwrights and authors. After performances, talk-back question-and-answer sessions with the playwright, director, and cast take place. This is a time where the audience can find out the back story about the writing of the play and the backstage production process. We also hold intimate dinner events with the playwrights, directors, and casts to give our sponsors and supporters a chance to talk one-on-one in a casual atmosphere with these artists. Past participants include: New York playwrights Edwin Sanchez and Rich Orfloff; author and playwright Ted Bacino; Chicago playwright Rufus Cadigan; and local playwright Cory Skurdal.

Give Now »


Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015
Projected Revenue $59,402
Projected Expense $58,095
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? No
Anticipate a capital campaign in next 5 years? No

Revenues by Source

  2014   2013   2012  
Total Direct Support $23,757  $23,553  $23,171 
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals
Direct Support Unspecified $23,757  $23,553  $23,171 
Indirect Public Support
Earned Revenue $22,058  $11,531 
Interest and Dividends
Membership Dues
Special Events $1,208 
TOTAL REVENUE $45,815  $35,084  $24,379 

Expense by Type

  2014   2013   2012  
Programs $23,863  $19,858  $10,911 
Administration $18,952  $14,116  $12,186 
Payment to Affiliates
TOTAL EXPENSES $42,815  $33,974  $23,097 

Assets and Liabilities

  2014   2013   2012  
Total Assets $6,141  $2,892  $1,782 
Current Assets $6,141  $2,892  $1,782 
Total Liabilities $4,575  $3,002 
Current Liabilities
NET ASSETS $1,566  $2,892  -$1,220 


TCF Staff:
Documents Form 990 2014 Form 990 2013 Form 990 2012

All portrait information is provided voluntarily by nonprofit organizations. An organization may decline to participate. At a minimum, information is updated annually--sometimes more frequently. Documents indicated as available by an organization are verified by Foundation staff. The financial section is completed by Foundation staff based on available documents for a three-year period.