Northern Stage Announces $8.5m Campaign to Support Artist Housing Development and More

This announcement coincides with the groundbreaking for a new housing development for actors, artists, and staff on Gates Street in downtown White River Junction.

By: Jun. 26, 2024
Northern Stage Announces $8.5m Campaign to Support Artist Housing Development and More
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 Northern Stage has announced the public phase kick-off of the Act II Campaign: A Vision For the Future of Northern Stage, White River Junction, and The Region; a transformative initiative aimed at securing the future of theater in the Upper Valley. This announcement coincides with the groundbreaking for a new housing development for actors, artists, and staff on Gates Street in downtown White River Junction.

As Northern Stage enters its 27th year bringing world-class theater to the Upper Valley and beyond, the Act II Campaign brings into focus three key priorities that will enhance Northern Stage's impact on the community and sustain its artistic excellence for years to come. These priorities include housing for staff and artists, an Impact Fund to boost operations and provide for exciting opportunities over the next ten years, and an endowment. 

Like so many other places, the Upper Valley is experiencing a severe housing shortage. Because Northern Stage is contractually obligated to provide housing to actors and visiting artists at no cost, the company must maintain a real estate portfolio. Currently, Northern Stage owns and maintains three apartment buildings and leases an additional 15 units from landlords in White River Junction. At the core of the Act II Campaign is an 18-unit, 24-bed apartment complex at the end of Gates Street, just a block from the theater. When completed, Northern Stage will be able to release its current units back into the market, effectively increasing the housing stock in White River Junction by 15 units. The “campus” will include a new parking lot with EV charging capabilities and a pocket park situated among the buildings, contributing to the streetscape.

The development is designed by Bread Loaf Corporation, who designed the 2015 Barrette Center for the Arts, and groundbreaking is scheduled for July. Construction is expected to take less than 12 months to complete.

Equally critical to the campaign is an Impact Fund, which will be expended over 10 years. This fund will serve as both a boost to the operating budget and an avenue for the company to make significant investments. These investments include increasing rehearsal time for musicals and larger shows, providing enhanced benefits to staff in order to be more competitive as an employer, and expanding accessible offerings to the community. These offerings encompass performances priced at $20, Pay-What-You-Can evenings, and sliding-scale tuition in education programs.

The campaign also emphasizes long-term investment by focusing on growing the endowment. An endowment provides a reliable source of income, ensuring steady support for Northern Stage’s yearly operations. Additionally, the endowment will protect the theater from major economic downturns and ensure its future success.

"Northern Stage is at an important inflection point in its growth, poised for unprecedented success,” said Northern Stage Board Chair Jennifer Kaye Argenti. “Like so many institutions, we have come out of an unimaginably difficult period and are blossoming. We are lucky to have an exceptionally strong board of directors and a great team leading the theater into its next phase, and we are proud to announce this campaign, the result of years of careful planning and hard work. We are grateful for the community's incredible investment in the theater, and eager to share in the delights of live theater with you for many years to come."

"The Act II Campaign will assure Northern Stage’s future in downtown White River Junction,” said Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne. “No one could have predicted the effects of the COVID pandemic on the theater industry. We are so grateful to our donors past and future who recognize the need for this extraordinary institution to thrive in our community.  From addressing the dire need for workforce housing for our artists, teachers and administrators to creating an endowment for the company’s stability, Act II will enable Northern Stage to make a major impact on our region for decades to come.”

"As we launch the public phase of the Act II Campaign, we are excited about the opportunity it presents for Northern Stage and our community,” said Nancy Murray, Chair of the Campaign Committee and member of the Board of Directors. "We are immensely grateful to the many donors, especially our Board members, who have made generous commitments to help us reach this point in our campaign. The campaign's success is crucial in ensuring our ability to continue providing exceptional theater experiences and unsurpassed educational opportunities in our community. With the Couch Family Foundation's generous match offer, every donation will have double the impact, making this a pivotal moment for our supporters to get involved."

To further amplify the impact of donations, the Couch Family Foundation has generously offered a 1:1 match up to $300,000. This match opportunity doubles the impact of every donation between now and August 31, 2024, making it an ideal time for supporters to join this amazing effort.

For more information about the Act II Campaign and how to support Northern Stage, please visit or contact Robin Caissie, Director of Development, at 802-296-7000 or by email at


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