Center Stage brings in $6.8 million in pledges

September 16, 2007|By Mary Carole McCauley | Mary Carole McCauley,Sun theater critic

Center Stage announced last week that it has wrapped up a $6.8 million fundraising campaign to shore up its endowment, and to plan a major building project expected to take place in a few years.

The $6.8 million in pledges includes an increase of $4 million to the theater's endowment, bringing it to $20 million. It also includes $2.8 million for physical improvements to the building that already have been completed, and to plan a redesign of the entire theater complex.

The success of the fundraising campaign "demonstrates the community's commitment to Center Stage and the theater's core mission," Lynn Deering, president of Center Stage's board of trustees, says in a news release.

The fundraising campaign was launched in the fall of 2004 after Center Stage was designated a "leading national theater" and was awarded $600,000 by the Doris Duke and Andrew Mellon foundations.

In addition, two gifts of $1 million each have been promised by The Charlesmead Foundation, Deering Family Foundations and The Rouse Company Foundation.

Some of the physical changes already completed include improved sound and light equipment, and a minor remodeling of the lobby outside the Pearlstone Theater.

The edifice itself at 700 N. Calvert St. and the remaining interior spaces are scheduled to undergo a large-scale renovation some time in the next several years.

The monies raised will enable Center Stage administrators to plan the renovation with Alexander Design Studio of Ellicott City, the architectural firm that the theater has hired.

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