TheatreSquared announces $1.8 million grant for Fayetteville expansion, adds leadership

A rendering shows what the new TheatreSquared building could look like at the corner of Spring and West streets in downtown Fayetteville.

Renderings by Kilograph / Courtesy TheatreSquared

The Walton Family Foundation made another major commitment to TheatreSquared’s expansion project in downtown Fayetteville.

Officials last week announced a new three-year grant from the foundation worth $1.8 million to help ensure a sustainable expansion during the local non-profit theatre company’s transition to its permanent home.

The grant is separate from the $12.5 million the foundation donated for construction of the new $34 million facility.

Martin Miller, executive director of TheatreSquared, said as construction continues, securing multi-year support for programming is more crucial than ever, adding that the money has already helped T2 add a new director of marketing and communications. The theatre company hired Joanna Sheehan Bell, the 10-year director of programs for the New York-based American Theatre Wing, the organization that created the Tony Awards. Bell begins work on Oct. 4.

Joanna Sheehan Bell / Courtesy

“It’s a privilege to join an organization creating such high-quality work in the middle of the country,” said Bell in a statement released Friday. “T2 is emerging as a national player in the industry, and I’m excited to help tell the company’s story, raise its profile and lead its audience and outreach expansion during its transition to a state-of-the-art cultural facility. I’m amazed at the vibrancy of the arts scene in this remarkable area, and my family and I are looking forward to calling Northwest Arkansas home.”

TheatreSquared in June broke ground on the new 50,000-square-foot performing arts center at the southeast corner of West Avenue and Spring Street.

Designed by Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue, the new venue will feature two performance stages, and will include rehearsal areas, costume and prop shops, dressing rooms, a green room, and administrative offices. Public common areas with educational and gathering spaces are also included in the plans.

TheatreSquared had sizable lead commitments going into the project, including the Walton Family Foundation’s $12.5 million, a $3.1 million commitment from the Fayetteville City Council, and a $3 million grant from the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

The City Council also granted a rent-free land lease to TheatreSquared for construction of the facility at the southeast corner of West Avenue and Spring Street.

Arkansas-based construction firm Baldwin & Shell was hired to construct the facility, which is expected to be open in time for TheatreSquared’s 2019 season.