TheatreSquared announced a $1.5 million leadership grant from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation toward the Our Next Stage capital campaign, supporting Northwest Arkansas’ dedicated home for professional theatre.
"Willard and Pat Walker were true visionaries in their commitment to this region,” said Martin Miller, TheatreSquared’s executive director. “We’re proud to have the support of the Walker Charitable Foundation to help TheatreSquared inaugurate a space where, over the next decades, millions of Arkansans of every background will discover remarkable live theatre and educational experiences."
The leadership gift will christen one of the building’s most prominent architectural features — the cantilevered, 1,700-square-foot open artistic space with a prominent view over the corner of West Avenue and Spring Street — as the Walker Rehearsal Room.
“It is exciting to see the momentum as this ambitious project enters its final phases, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this new cultural landmark,” said Mandy Macke, executive director for the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation. “We hope this gift inspires others in the community to join us in supporting our region’s first home for world-class theatre — made here in Northwest Arkansas.”
The grant brings total commitments to date to over 80 percent of building costs. A committee of area civic leaders is working closely with TheatreSquared’s staff and its board to continue raising leadership and community gifts to raise over $31 million towards the project’s costs, in addition to a separate TheatreSquared Trust campaign that will ensure a sustainable future for the organization and its community-driven offerings.
The new theatre at the corner of West and Spring in downtown Fayetteville will be complete this summer. London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and New York-based Marvel Architects designed the venue. TheatreSquared will house two state-of-the-art theatres, the Walker Rehearsal Room, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and an open-all-day cafe/bar. Outdoor areas on each level — a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West Avenue, and a rooftop deck — reinforce the organization's ethos of transparency to the community.
The site is steps from dozens of restaurants and bars, blocks from the University of Arkansas campus, and across the street from a new 250-space parking garage.
TheatreSquared will host the first performances in the new theatre in August 2019.