The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Receives Special Gift From The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Receives Special Gift From The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and its artistic director, Bonnie J. Monte, have been awarded a $25,000 gift by The Geraldine R. Dodge foundation in honor of the retirement of the Foundation's longtime trustee, Dr. Barbara Knowles Debs. The surprise presentation was made by Dodge Foundation president and CEO Christopher J. Daggett at the Opening Night of Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's Trelawny of the Wells - the final production of The Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season.

Dr. Debs served on the Dodge Foundation Board for more than 25 years, and for most of her tenure, chaired the Arts Committee. In addition, she was the President of Manhattanville College and the New York Historical Society. "Barbara brought her lifetime of experience as an art historian, and her passion for the arts and arts education to our Board table and to conversations with our staff," Daggett told the audience immediately following the curtain call.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Debs from the Board, the Trustees of The Dodge Foundation voted to make a one-time contribution in her honor to recognize an artist or administrator in New Jersey who meant as much to their institution as Dr. Debs did to the Foundation.

"Charged with that task, it was easy for our staff and Board to agree on who should receive this recognition," Daggett continued. "Bonnie Monte's unyielding commitment to excellence and her exemplary leadership - both artistically and administratively - of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey over the past twenty-two years, makes her the perfect candidate for this recognition made in honor of another outstanding leader."

Mr. Daggett noted that, in what can only be described as serendipity, this grant - presented during The Theatre's 50th Anniversary - is the Dodge Foundation's 50th awarded to The Shakespeare Theatre since its first in 1978. Over the past 35 years, the Foundation has provided more than $3 million in support to the Madison-based theatre.

The gift is made with the intent that it be designated for an artistic or educational project or program the Theatre has wanted to undertake, but has not due to financial constraints.

Ms. Monte, who, along with the rest of the audience, was caught completely by surprise, expressed her deep appreciation for the award and for The Dodge Foundation. "I, along with The Shakespeare Theatre's staff, Board and artists, am honored and humbled by this extraordinary gift. We are immensely grateful for the steadfast and generous support of The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and we thank them from the very bottom of our hearts."

Following the presentation, the audience rose to its feet for the second standing ovation of the evening.

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually. It is New Jersey's largest professional company dedicated solely to Shakespeare's canon and other world masterworks. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance and importance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Rt. 124) at Lancaster Road on the Drew University campus, just minutes from Routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The Theatre's Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier-free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Braille and large print programs are available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Some performances are audio-described. Contact the Theatre for more information or to purchase tickets at 973-408-5600 or visit

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