(TAMPA, FL) – Stageworks Theatre, Tampa’s longest-running professional theatre company, begins 2023 with two newly announced gifts totaling more than $2 million, providing a strong foundation to secure the theatre’s long-term future. Mercury Advisors, the developers of Grand Central at Kennedy, gifted Stageworks its current 99-seat, first floor theatre. The gift is valued at $2.45 million. Additionally, the Tampa-based Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, Inc. provided a $10,000 grant for the theatre company to convert to more energy-efficient stage lighting.
The gifts come as Stageworks celebrates its 40th Anniversary Season. The milestone will be marked during the theatre company’s annual gala on February 4, 2023.
“We are extremely grateful for these amazing gifts,” said Karla Hartley, Stageworks’ producing artistic director. “They signify the confidence these organizations have not only in our outstanding performances but in Stageworks’ vision for the future. As we continue to expand our fundraising efforts, these donations will help ensure that Stageworks continues to inspire and educate Tampa audiences and produce groundbreaking new works for many years to come.”
Late last year, Mercury Advisors decided to sell its first-floor retail holdings, but chose not to include the theatre to ensure Stageworks continued to have a performance space. Stageworks has leased the theatre from Mercury Advisors since 2012.
“Mercury Advisors have been steadfast supporters for the past 10 years and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity in offering and facilitating this transaction,” added Hartley.
“Owning our theatre will help us fulfill our potential, especially after the challenges of the pandemic, which impacted arts organizations around the world,” noted Jennifer Scher, chairperson of Stageworks Theatre’s board of directors.
Prior to moving to Grand Central at Kennedy, Stageworks performed at a variety of venues including a Ybor City storefront, Hillsborough Community College, University of Tampa’s Faulk Theatre, and The Straz Center.
Funds from the Duckwall Foundation will be used to transition Stageworks’ current lighting board from incandescent to LED lighting, which is more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, and will help reduce costs.
Stageworks begins the third production of its 40th season in February with the performance of “The Smell of the Kill.” Stageworks Theatre’s mission is to ignite the human spirit and be a catalyst in eradicating intolerance through performing arts and education. In addition to six performances each season, Stageworks provides acting and improvisation classes and workshops. Its partnership with Academy Prep brings drumming classes to students at three campuses to support their overall learning, and the theatre company has also provided its drumming and arts education curriculum to students in the juvenile justice system.
Over the years Stageworks has been honored with numerous local and regional awards for best theatre company, best actor, and best director. The theatre company will celebrate its 40 years of providing challenging and insightful theatre during a Gala on February 4 at the Floridan Hotel, where Stageworks’ founder, the late Anna Brennan will be celebrated posthumously. To purchase tickets to the Gala, or learn more about Stageworks Theatre’s upcoming productions, membership options and community outreach visit www.stageworkstheatre.org or get social with us on Facebook and Instagram.