The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Makes Landmark $2 Million Gift to Roundabout Theatre Company and Reveals New Leadership

This generous gift, the largest in the Foundation’s history, will contribute to Roundabout Theatre Company’s Board Designated Reserve Fund.

By: Dec. 01, 2023
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The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Makes Landmark $2 Million Gift to Roundabout Theatre Company and Reveals New Leadership The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater recently made a landmark $2 million gift to Roundabout Theatre Company, fulfilling a pledge made by its founder, Laura Pels, during a special campaign to mark the company’s 50th Anniversary. Ms. Pels, a Roundabout board member for nearly three decades and a philanthropic champion for the American theater, died at the age of 92 in May 2023. 

 

This generous gift, the largest in the Foundation’s history, will contribute to Roundabout Theatre Company’s Board Designated Reserve Fund. From there, it will be used to protect the future of Roundabout’s New Play Initiative, and to support future plays developed and produced in the company’s 424-seat off Broadway theatre, which will remain named in Ms. Pels’s honor.

 

Since 1995, Roundabout’s off-Broadway venue has been named for Ms. Pels—first at the Criterion Center and later in its current location, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. The Laura Pels Theatre has been home to 63 world-class productions, including 28 new plays from American Playwrights whose work has since been produced around the world and recognized with honors including Tony Awards, Obie Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Notable productions at the Laura Pels Theatre include: a 1995 revival of Harold Pinter’s Moonlight, featuring Jason Robards, Jr, Blythe Danner and Liev Schreiber; the 2004 New York premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, directed by Daniel Sullivan and starring Viola Davis; and Stephen Karam’s The Humans, the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play and a Roundabout commission. Last season, the Pels hosted two world-premiere plays, both distinguished as Critic’s Picks by The New York Times: Noah Diaz’s You Will Get Sick and Eboni Booth’s Primary Trust. The 2023-2024 season launched with the acclaimed world premiere of Nathan Alan Davis’s The Refuge Plays, in partnership with the venerated New York Theatre Workshop.

 

The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater is also pleased to announce that the Foundation will continue under the new leadership of President Julie Kinsella, who worked alongside Laura Pels at the Foundation for several years, and Executive Director Jack Brister, longtime member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

 

“We are very pleased to lead the Foundation into its next chapter. It is an honor to continue fulfilling Laura’s legacy and mission to support high quality theater in New York City and beyond. We are delighted to embark upon this next phase of the Foundation by renewing our collaboration with Roundabout Theatre Company, which was so special to Laura,” notes Ms. Kinsella.

 

Roundabout’s Interim Artistic Director Scott Ellis adds, “We are deeply grateful to the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater for this extraordinary investment in Roundabout's future, and to our beloved Laura for her generosity, foresight, and commitment. Laura was a fierce advocate for artists everywhere, a leader on our Board of Directors for 28 years, and a creative force herself who made us a braver, better theatre. A trusted friend to Todd Haimes, our visionary Artistic Director & CEO of 40 years, Laura was a champion for artistic risk and a pillar of our Roundabout family. This landmark gift ensures that her legacy will live on in the many Roundabout artists who share her courageous spirit.”

 

About The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater

The Laura Pels International Foundation was created in 1996 as a not-for-profit United States-based Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to cultivate’ promote, sponsor, foster, develop, and encourage public understanding, appreciation and support of the theater and the dramatic arts in any language or translation.

 

About Roundabout Theatre Company

Roundabout Theatre Company celebrates the power of theatre by spotlighting classics from the past, cultivating new works of the present, and educating minds for the future. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills that mission by producing familiar and lesser-known plays and musicals; discovering and supporting talented playwrights; reducing the barriers that can inhibit theatergoing; collaborating with a diverse team of artists; building educational experiences; and archiving over five decades of production history. www.roundabouttheatre.org

 





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