Shakespeare & Company Announces Community Phase of Capital Campaign with Kresge Foundation Incentive Grant

Posted May 7, 2009


{Lenox, Mass}—In a dramatic display of support for the arts in trying financial times, The Kresge Foundation has awarded Shakespeare & Company an $800,000 incentive grant as S&Co. gears up for the final phase of its ongoing $10 million Capital Campaign. The centerpiece of the Campaign is the creation of the new Production and Performing Arts (PaPA) Center, including the new Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Additional Campaign funds will go toward program support and the establishment of a small endowment and cash reserve. To date, the Company has raised over $8 million toward the $10 million goal.

Receipt of the extraordinary Kresge Foundation incentive grant is contingent upon Shakespeare & Company raising approximately $1.2 million from private sources. With this condition met, and the Kresge grant in hand, S&Co. will have successfully completed its Capital Campaign. The campaign was publicly announced at S&Co.’s 30th anniversary gala in 2007. The Company has raised over $8 million toward the $10 million goal, and is now turning to the community at large to help it qualify for the incentive grant and thus complete this crucial campaign.

As part of this push to meet The Kresge Foundation’s incentive grant, Shakespeare & Company is encouraging the entire S& Co. community, including patrons, current supporters and all community members, to offer their support at any level. “No gift is too small, and we hope to see our larger community bring us to the finish line,” says Michael A. Miller, Chairman of the Capital Campaign and former longtime Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Company is offering many naming opportunities as part of the new Production and Performing Arts Center, from rehearsal/performance studios to the green room, individual theatre seats, and more. Those interested in contributing to the Capital Campaign at any level to help S&Co. meet the Kresge incentive should contact Bonnie Stevens, S&Co.’s Director of Capital Campaign at 413- 637-1199 ext. 113 or

Grants from The Kresge Foundation, a major international force in the world of philanthropic giving, are highly sought after and considered a loud statement in support of the recipient organization and its projects. The foundation is based outside Detroit, Michigan, and issues grants strictly to nonprofit organizations working in one of six areas, including arts and culture.

“Shakespeare and Company’s impact on the larger artistic community is evident by both its commitment to producing new works and providing classical theatre training. We are pleased to support the new Center for Production and Performing Arts,” says Rip Rapson, President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation.

The creation of the new PaPA Center has been a community-wide effort, just as the emergence of these new facilities has benefited a host of community organizations. The architect was Stephan Green of Great Barrington’s Clark & Green; the builders were Allegrone Construction and Allegrone Masonry of Pittsfield, who also coordinated the work of over a dozen local subcontractors; the Project Manager was Nicholas J. Puma, Jr., S&Co.’s Managing Director. A successful completion of the Capital Campaign—a milestone that will be reached when S&Co. qualifies for The Kresge Foundation’s extraordinary incentive grant—benefits not only S&Co., those touched by its programming, and its partners who made the PaPA Center a reality, but also the other community groups who are already taking advantage of the availability of these new facilities.

Since its “soft opening” in August 2008, the PaPA Center has made a profound and immediate impact on S&Co.’s ability to better fulfill its mission by providing world class performance, actor training and education programs to the community. The added flexibility has also given S&Co. a chance to host many events held by other community organizations, including a performance by the Olga Dunn Dance Company, the Tanglewood season announcement, a Berkshire Creative Sparks! networking event, the She’s Got Moxie! Awards and Gala (as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women in the Arts), IS183’s Hairball Gala, various film and video shoots, a fashion show and fundraiser by Homeward Bound, fundraisers for community members in need, and more. On May 9, the Berkshire Musical Theatre Workshop presents a new, musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility at the Bernstein Theatre.

The Bernstein Theatre allowed S&Co. to produce its first-ever winter show, Theresa Rebeck’s Bad Dates, which caused a critical and box office sensation and earned longtime Company actress Elizabeth Aspenlieder a nomination for a 2009 Elliot Norton Award. The expansion of S&Co.’s programming continues this season with its first-ever holiday season show, Cindy Bella (Or The Glass Slipper), followed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s direction of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liasons) next winter. The creation of three state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces has allowed the Training Program to both expand and improve its offerings to actors from around the world, and also created a space for film and photography shoots unmatched in the region. The new facilities even allowed S&Co. to bring the prestigious Shakespeare Theatre Association of America’s (STAA) annual conference to the Northeast for the first time in its history, with 150 leading experts in Shakespeare from North America and Great Britain convening in Lenox for several days in January.

“The overwhelming support of the Campaign from the Board of Trustees, Board of Overseers and other supporters has been tremendous,” says Packer. “So we are hopeful our other friends in the community will now answer this call. These trying times mean that our work is all the more important. We know Shakespeare & Company enriches so many lives, from high school students thrilled by the possibilities of language to longtime patrons who know they can come here every year and experience something invigorating and inspiring. Yet we need our friends to make a statement that this is indeed vital, that this work must thrive.”

Kresge’s latest round of grants went to 125 organizations spread across 30 states plus the District of Columbia, Canada, Great Britain and South Africa—yet S&Co. is one of only two recipients in the state of Massachusetts. This $800,000 incentive grant is among Kresge’s largest in this round of funding.

“In this troubled economic climate, The Kresge Foundation has said loud and clear that it views our ongoing expansion as an important endeavor, and one with value not only for our own programming but for the broader community,” says Nicholas J. Puma, Jr., S&Co.’s Managing Director. “We do not believe this is a time to shrink back. We are standing up and moving forward. It is very important that our patrons and theatre lovers everywhere stand with us.”

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion international foundation that seeks to build stronger nonprofit organizations. It concentrates its programming on capital campaigns as a key opportunity for nonprofit growth. Its Capital Challenge Grant Program has helped communities across the country build libraries, schools, hospitals, museums, community centers and food banks.

Mission Statement: Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company aspires to create a theatre of unprecedented excellence rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance and harmony; a company that performs as the Elizabethans did -- in love with poetry, physical prowess and the mysteries of the universe. With a core of over 120 artists, the company performs Shakespeare, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors and designers of all races, nationalities and backgrounds. Shakespeare & Company provides original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods. Shakespeare & Company also develops and produces new plays of social and political significance. Shakespeare & Company's education programs inspire a new generation of students and scholars to discover the resonance of Shakespeare's truths in the everyday world, demonstrating the influence that classical theatre can have within a community.

Statement of Vision: To create a theatre of unprecedented excellence rooted in the Elizabethan ideals of inquiry, balance, and harmony, performing as the Elizabethans did; in love with poetry, physical prowess, and the mysteries of the universe. To establish a theatre company which, by its commitment to the creative impulse, is a revolutionary force in society, which connects the truths of the past to the challenges and possibilities of today, which finds its source in the performance of Shakespeare’s plays, and reaches the widest possible audience through training and education as well as performance.

Back to Gail Sez home.