TheatreSquared Celebrates Campaign Milestone, Announces Investment from State of Arkansas
More than 200 supporters of TheatreSquared's Our Next Stage Campaign gathered in the company's near-complete, state-of-the-art new home on Saturday for a black tie celebration as the company announced the new milestone of ninety percent of building funds raised. Members of the Northwest Arkansas delegation to the Arkansas State Legislature were in attendance as Senator Jim Hendren shared news that Governor Asa Hutchinson had authorized a $2.9 million funding commitment from the State of Arkansas's rainy-day fund, in recognition of the project's substantial economic development and quality of life contributions to the state.
Todd Simmons, CEO and vice chairman of Simmons Foods and a member of TheatreSquared's Our Next Stage Committee, said the investment reflects how the state and region have come to recognize the valuable role the arts play in the local economy, workforce retention, and quality of life. "We are sincerely grateful to Governor Hutchinson and the State of Arkansas for helping us reach this crucial milestone," said Simmons. "Not only has TheatreSquared become an anchor cultural institution for those who live and work in Northwest Arkansas, but they also bring performances and programs to 70 schools across our state."
TheatreSquared had established a $9 million public funding goal as part of its $31.5 million project budget to fund construction. Together with leadership contributions from the City of Fayetteville and the Fayetteville A&P Commission, the State of Arkansas's commitment will close out the public goal. TheatreSquared now enters the final phase of the Our Next Stage Campaign as it seeks to raise both the remaining 10% of project funds and to establish a new capital reserve fund to help sustain the company's artistic and educational programs.
As one of the inaugural participants in Walton Family Foundation's Design Excellence initiative, the new TheatreSquared is an architecturally significant new theatre at the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue in downtown Fayetteville. The state-of-the-art complex will open its doors on August 8 as one of the newest, most intimate, and immersive performance spaces in the country. London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and New York-based Marvel Architects designed the 50,000 square-foot, two-building, two-venue site, which prominently features materials largely sourced from within the state. The project was built by Baldwin & Shell Construction Company, based out of Little Rock.
Guests at Saturday's one-night-only event were treated to a performance by Fayetteville native and Broadway veteran performer Esther Stilwell in gratitude for their support. A plaque was presented to commemorate the June 22nd event, which will be placed in the Commons at the building's completion next to the names of the campaign supporters who made the completion of the building possible.
On August 8, the theatre will hold its traditional Season Kickoff celebration for the first time in the new facility, beginning with a ribbon cutting to signify the formal public opening of the building. Just one week later, the first performances of Shakespeare in Love begin. Patrons can reserve tickets for the season kickoff celebration at theatre2.org, or sign up for the grand opening season and be designated as Founding Subscribers.
The new TheatreSquared will house two state-of-the-art theatres, the Walker Rehearsal Room, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and an open-all-day café/bar. Outdoor areas on each level - a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West, and a rooftop deck - reinforce the organization's ethos of transparency to the community.
See current construction progress, design images, the backstory, and learn how to join the campaign at ournextstage.org.