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Raleigh Little Theatre Receives Grant from Pope Foundation for $100,000

These funds will support renovations to the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre restrooms to increase accessibility.

Raleigh Little Theatre is pleased to announce it has received the 2021 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts for $100,000 from the John William Pope Foundation. These funds will support renovations to the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre restrooms to increase accessibility and bring the facilities up to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Raleigh Little Theatre has been committed to accessibility since its inception in 1936. In 2017, RLT renovated the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre to improve accessibility, installed a hearing loop in the main theater for those that need assistance, added sensory-friendly performances to Family Series shows, and expanded casting and rehearsal processes to be more inclusive to actors and crew with disabilities. A critical piece of continuing this work is renovating RLT's mainstage Sutton Theatre, ensuring that the entire theatre is inclusive of all volunteers, actors and audience members.

While full Sutton Theatre renovation plans are on hold due to the health crisis, RLT felt it was important to continue to move forward with some of the renovations, particularly those aimed at bringing the space up to current ADA requirements. An important piece of the renovation is significantly updating the Sutton Theatre restrooms, which serve as the restrooms for both the Sutton Theatre as well as the outdoor Louise "Scottie" Stephenson Amphitheatre.

"At a time when budgets are extremely tight and so many things are on hold, it feels good to still be able to move forward on some important and necessary projects, especially when that means continuing to make RLT more accessible," said Heather Strickland, RLT's executive director. "We are incredibly grateful to the Pope Foundation for this dedicated funding to renovate and improve accessibility in the Sutton Theatre restrooms."

Established in 2015, the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Program is an annual competitive grant opportunity for organizations in the arts and human services. Since 2015, the Pope Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in project funds to organizations across the state.

"Supporting the arts means supporting the facilities that make the arts possible," said Pope Foundation Chairman Art Pope. "The Pope Foundation is pleased to support something as mundane, but necessary, as updating and expanding the RLT bathrooms so that RLT can continue to serve all in our community in safe, healthy, and equitable facilities."

The renovation project is slated to begin in April 2021 and will take approximately two to three months to complete. RLT plans to present its live in-person programming in the Stephenson Amphitheatre through July 2021 and hopes to break ground on the updated restrooms, which are utilized by patrons of the Stephenson Amphitheatre, in time for as much of its upcoming outdoor programming as possible.


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