OUR NEXT STAGE

On June 23, 2017, TheatreSquared broke ground on its future, permanent home and launched the $34 million Our Next Stage Campaign.

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    TheatreSquared launches public phase of campaign, breaks ground in Fayetteville

    by Stacy Ryburn

    FAYETTEVILLE
    — June 23, 2017 — Artistic Director Bob Ford teared up when he began thanking some of the partners who made the early stages of TheatreSquared possible. He wasn't acting.

    On Friday, the nonprofit performing arts organization went on to its next act with a groundbreaking kicking off the long haul of its fundraising effort.
    "From this moment forward, we are incredibly lucky and grateful to be able to count on the exceptional volunteer leadership of the Our Next Stage capital campaign committee," he said, naming all 26 members.
    TheatreSquared has already secured $21 million of its $34 million effort to bring a 50,000-square-foot performing arts center and full-time cafe and bar to the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue, Executive Director Martin Miller said. Next comes the public phase of the campaign, he said.
    "This crucial fundraising effort will allow us to build, but also guarantee the future of our region's first permanent, dedicated home for exceptional, professional theater created right here in Northwest Arkansas," Miller said.
    The $34 million campaign includes the $31.5 million price tag for the construction project and enough to start an artistic, operation and education reserve.
    Designed by Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue, the building will feature two theaters, a rehearsal space, offices, education and community space, on-site design and building workshops, eight guest artist apartments, three levels of outdoor public spaces and a cafe and bar that will remain open during the day.
    In April, the Advertising and Promotion Commission agreed to give TheatreSquared $3 million over 15 years. That figure equates to $200,000 annually. The Walton Family Foundation has awarded TheatreSquared $12.5 million in grants.
    The City Council agreed in March to invest $3.1 million toward the project. The city already leases the property on which the new venue will be built rent-free to TheatreSquared under a renewable 100-year agreement.
    Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who at one point held a mock skull and uttered the words, "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well," to add a bit of theatrics to the celebration, touted what he called the "premiere performing arts district of Northwest Arkansas."
    "This city dreams big because we are a strong city and our people are strong and are always planning for the future," he said. "This new cultural facility will be a public asset for generations."
    Construction will continue through 2019. TheatreSquared organizers hope to open in time for the 2019-2020 season.

    Read the full article at nwaonline.com >