Press Release | TheatreSquared announces $90,000 in funding


2010 Gala for Education Raises $50,000
National Endowment for the Arts Announces $15,000 Grant
for World Premiere of Sundown Town
Happy Hollow Fund Awards $25,000 Grant to Support T2 for Education

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—November 23, 2010—TheatreSquared (T2) announced today a record Gala fundraising success and two new grants in support of artistic and educational programs. On Friday, November 19, the theatre raised $50,000 at its annual Gala for Education, a $10,000 increase over one year before. T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford announced at the event that the Happy Hollow Fund at Fayetteville Area Community Foundation had awarded T2 a two-year, $25,000 grant in support of a new arts and literacy partnership with Fayetteville High School. Finally, Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced today that TheatreSquared had been approved for a grant of $15,000 to support the World Premiere of Sundown Town in February, 2011.

“There’s a great deal to be thankful for this week,” said Martin Miller, managing director for TheatreSquared. “More than 260 guests joined us Friday evening, filling every chair as we recognized Sandy Edwards with the 2010 Arts Advocate Award—and setting a new fundraising record. The NEA’s announcement is a singular thrill—the grant is TheatreSquared’s first from the NEA, in an extremely competitive field. The award from the Happy Hollow Fund, endowed by Fayetteville visionary Betty Lighton, will help us to deepen our partnership with Fayetteville High School’s Keystone/Capstone intervention classes for challenged young readers and writers.”

The 2010 Gala for Education, supporting arts-in-education outreach for students and teachers throughout Arkansas, brought a sell-out crowd of 260 guests to Savor Restaurant in Fayetteville. The event featured cuisine by Chef Mario Maggi, a command performance by Esther Stilwell, the presentation of the 2010 Arts Advocate Award to Sandy Edwards by University of Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart, and the presentation of the 2010 Arts Educator Award to Paul Kristensen, Boyd Logan and Jon Medders. Lead supporters of the 2010 Gala included: Bob and Becky Alexander; Jeff and Lisa Gearhart; Land O’Frost, Inc.; Margaret and Richard Rutherford; Walmart Stores, Inc.; and Jim, Lynne, Steuart and Thomas Walton.

All proceeds from the Gala for Education will benefit T2 for Education, TheatreSquared’s landmark educational program serving students and teachers throughout Northwest Arkansas. Combining the expertise of leading educators and artists, this comprehensive arts-in-education program offers student performances, teacher workshops, professional training academies and a variety of collaborative educational initiatives.

A $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, announced today, will support the World Premiere of Sundown Town, a new work by Arkansas playwright Kevin Cohea that weaves more than a dozen bluegrass and folk songs into a theatrical fable of prejudice and redemption, persecution and hope. The production will debut February 4 and continue through February 20, 2011. The production will feature TheatreSquared’s largest cast of professional performers to date, accompanied by the Arkansas-based folk trio 3 Penny Acre. An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.

The Happy Hollow Fund at Fayetteville Area Community Foundation was established by Betty Lighton of Fayetteville, a pioneering leader in social service work who established United Community Services and the Ozark Guidance Center. The two-year, $25,000 grant announced Friday will help TheatreSquared continue and expand a pilot partnership with Fayetteville High School’s Keystone/Capstone program, which seeks to help students improve literacy skills and acquire a lifelong love of reading and writing. One hundred and sixty students will take part in arts-in-education workshops led by TheatreSquared professionals throughout the year, culminating in a performance of student-written plays for an audience of family and peers.

TheatreSquared is Northwest Arkansas’s regional theatre, dedicated to creating exceptional theatrical works and innovative educational programs. The theatre’s Fifth Anniversary Season continues December 10-26 with the holiday comedy, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!). For more information, visit