The Next Stage Capital Campaign
An opportunity to own a permanent space is a timely catalyst in the continuing growth of any arts organization. To have a building that one can call home can create unprecedented institutional growth, give the organization a firm foundation in a community, help expand its audience, and allow for new program initiatives and infrastructure development.
After twenty-three successful years of producing theatre in Chicago for both children and adults the Griffin Theatre Company has been presented with this exciting opportunity to create a neighborhood professional performing arts center in the Bowmanville neighborhood of Chicago. Five years ago the Griffin vacated its thirteen year home in Andersonville due to escalating rents. Alderman Patrick J. O’Connor of the 40th ward saw a need to keep the Griffin in the neighborhood and offered the Griffin a chance to purchase, renovate and create a theatrical complex in an abandon police station on the corner of Foster Avenue and Damen Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood. The purchase price of building from the city of Chicago is an unprecedented amount—one dollar. The Griffin recognizes
that this is a remarkable opportunity and a chance for the organization to create the unprecedented growth it needs to sustain itself for years to come. It is now critical for the Griffin to embark on a capital campaign.
Renovating an old 1930’s police station poses some exciting challenges and opportunities for the Griffin Theatre. Celebrated theatre architect John Morris who designed both the Steppenwolf Theatre and the Lookingglass Theatre downtown at the pumping station is currently designing the venue. The complete project will be done in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2012 and the renovation will include an 80 seat black box theatre. The second phase will create a 120 seat main-stage theatre. The theatre itself will have a fly system to utilize state of the art lighting and scenery designs. The stage floor will be a series of traps to allow for entrances and exits from below the stage. The design will be completely unique and architectural elements of the police station will be incorporated into the design of the theatre—the box office will be one of the stations old holding cells. The original office space and interrogation rooms of the police station will be converted in to the Griffin’s administrative offices and allow for classrooms and workshop space. The Griffin is dedicated to performing theatre for children and young people and in addition will create performing arts classes for children and partner with the nearby neighborhood schools to help integrate arts curriculum into the classroom.
More importantly, the Griffin will be creating a neighborhood arts center where people of all backgrounds can gather to enjoy, participate, and experience the arts.
Griffin’s finances and the future of this project lie in its ability to make this capital campaign successful. The funds it creates from its own resources through ticket sales, touring revenue, corporations and foundations and continued support from its friends through the annual fund and benefits will not be sufficient. That is why the Next Stage campaign is an exciting and tremendous opportunity and an important catalyst in the continuing growth and success of the Griffin Theatre Company.
If you would like to find out more about how you can contribute or help be a part of the NEXT STAGE campaign, call 773-769- 2228 ext. 2 or 3 or Email Bill Massolia.