FST Announces Annual Fundraising Event And Spelman Award Recipients

FST Announces Annual Fundraising Event And Spelman Award Recipients

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) presents its annual fundraiser, the Denim & Diamonds Shindig, on Monday, February 25 in FST's Hegner Theatre Wing. Celebrating FST's 45th season, attendees are invited to break out their finest western garb, boots, bling, or their favorite cocktail attire for an evening of sparkle and cheer. The evening kicks off with a cocktail reception featuring live music, dancers, performances by FST's resident improv troupe, raffles and more. Guests will then assemble in FST's Gompertz Theatre to watch exclusive live performances by some of FST's beloved artists. Tickets are $250 per person. To reserve a seat, please call Samus Haddad, Development Associate at (941) 366-9017 ext. 316.

Proceeds from the shindig will support FST's Playwrights Collective and will cover the expenses of artist travel, commissions, and new play development workshops. The Collective includes budding and veteran playwrights, such as Sarah Bierstock (Honor Killing), Mark St. Germain (Dancing Lessons, The Best of Enemies), Jacqueline Goldfinger (Bottle Fly, The Arsonists), Richie McCall (Me & Stepin), and Jason Odell Williams (Church and State, Handle with Care). This program allows playwrights to workshop new plays at FST, gaining important feedback from FST's artistic team and live audiences. By giving playwrights the support they need during the creative process, the Collective aims to deepen the playwrights' relationships with the theatre, FST's audience, and fellow playwrights.

During the Shindig, FST will present the esteemed Spelman Award. Named in honor of Florida Studio Theatre's founding Artistic Director, Jon Spelman, the Spelman Award is presented to an individual or a corporate sponsor who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership by providing FST with spiritual, financial, and/or in-kind support. This year's recipients of the Spelman Award are Bob and Wendy Grady, who are avid supporters of FST's education program and Winter Season programming.

"Last year, Bob and Wendy Grady supported an extension of our award-winning WRITE A PLAY program," explained FST's Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins. "With their gifts, FST has been able to reach students at the Holy Name School in Camden, NJ, a struggling school comprised almost entirely of students of color. Bob and Wendy have also underwritten our entire Winter Season, including our Mainstage, Stage III, and Cabaret programs. They make it possible for FST to excel!"

"We believe that the mission of FST is wonderfully pure and far reaching," shared Bob and Wendy Grady. "Providing healthy, thought provoking food for the soul is important. Theatre outreach programs, especially for less fortunate children by giving them a vision to succeed; access to affordable live performances for all ages; training aspiring people in all phases of theatre; creating great, fun Cabarets and introducing edgy drama to spark great conversations (and debates) - all provide psychic well-being."

Chairing the Shindig is long-time FST supporter Marie G. Kropp who has been integral to numerous FST events, like last year's Shakespearean-themed fundraiser. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, this year's event will feature the presentation of The Spelman Award, a seated dinner by Michael's on East, and live entertainment performed by FST artists.

Additional sponsors for FST's Denim & Diamonds Shindig include Bob and Wendy Grady, Patrick and Mary Mulva, Jennifer Michell, Patricia and Roger Courtois, Kelly and Anita DeVine, Marie G. Kropp. Barbara J. Lupoff, Ed and Susan Maier, Ron and Carolyn Vioni, Dorothy G. Waldron, and Tom Wilson and Patrick Crimmings.

With a mix of casual and formal, FST's Denim & Diamonds Shindig will celebrate Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre and its 45th season. Tickets are $250 per person with proceeds supporting FST's Playwrights Collective, which supports playwrights through the play development process. To reserve a seat, please call Samus Haddad, Development Associate at (941)-366-9017 ext. 316.

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