Professional Theatre For Maine

The Public Theatre Awarded $250,000 Grant from Jane's Trust

Posted on 01/17/2007 12:00am by Default Admin

Jane's Trust awards the Theatre one its largest grant amounts for 2006 in support of high quality arts experience. Funds from Boston-based Jane's Trust will go to support The Public Theatre's Capital Campaign.

Lewiston, Maine (January 17, 2006) - After much anticipation, The Public Theatre is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a $250,000 grant from Jane's Trust of Boston to support the Capital Campaign to renovate the historic Ritz Theatre. The funds will be used to move forward with Phase IV of the campaign, which will include renovations of the dressing rooms, storage areas, and improvements to the HVAC systems. In December, a check for $150,000, representing the first installment of the two-year pledge, was received. The remaining $100,000 will be paid out in December 2007. This amount brings The Public Theatre's Capital Campaign total to $1.41 million, with $1 million remaining to be raised.

"With funding sources in Maine shrinking, this grant from Jane's Trust will give our Capital Campaign the boost it needs and creates the opportunity to leverage other sources of support," said Marilyn Closson, Capital Campaign Co-chair. "While the Theatre continues to raise funds locally, receiving funds from an out-of-state foundation proves The Public Theatre and the Lewiston/Auburn area worthy of attention."

Jane's Trust was formed in 2004 to provide funding to projects, which primarily benefit under-served populations and disadvantaged communities, particularly in advancing educational opportunities and providing access to the Arts. Jane's Trust is a new funding source, having made its first public grants in 2004. It was the Trust's first grant to The Public Theatre. The trust awarded 63 grants totaling over $9 million in 2006, of which The Public Theatre grant was one of the largest, and one of only two awarded to Maine Arts organizations.

The Public Theatre, part of a continued revitalization effort of Lewiston's Southern Gateway including Oxford Networks, Northeast Bank, VIP and Andover College, is in the third year of its Capital Campaign to renovate its building located at the corner of Maple and Lisbon streets. The former Ritz Theatre was in dire need of attention and, since the campaign started, has realized dramatic improvements including a complete renovation of the lobby and restroom facilities, construction of new emergency exits, and refurbishment of the exterior of the building. "Completing the upgrades to the theatre will continue to add value to the collaborative efforts that have taken place to improve the downtown and provide affordable access to the arts," said Chip Morrison, President of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

The funds from Jane's Trust are part of a rising tide of Arts initiatives that are spurring momentum in the L/A area. While many communities have quality arts programs, the cities of Lewiston and Auburn regularly collaborate and utilize the Arts as a mechanism to revitalize the community, and create a true cultural center for Central Maine.

"Cultural access is key to sustaining a healthy community", said Christopher Schario, Artistic Director of The Public Theatre. "The Public Theatre is committed to providing the highest caliber performances, and continues to report the lowest ticket price for professional Equity theatre in Maine. Receiving this grant solidifies our presence in the community and the importance of the Arts as an economic driver. It is a testimony to the leadership and commitment to L/A that we've all worked hard to achieve."

Parties interested in being part of The Public Theater's Capital Campaign should contact The Public Theatre at 207-782-2211 for more information and opportunities for giving.


Mission Statement: The Public Theatre was founded to bring professional theater of high quality to the people of Central Maine, at an affordable price. We especially strive to reach those less likely by tradition or inclination to attend live theater. Artistic excellence is central to the mission of The Public Theatre.

  • In 1991, The Public Theatre was founded by a group of visionary people committed to bringing professional theater to the people of Central Maine, at an affordable price. Skeptics throughout the state, influenced by their outdated conceptions of Lewiston/Auburn, scoffed at the idea of a professional theatre succeeding in a former mill town. But today The Public Theatre is one of the most remarkable success stories in the State of Maine, a cornerstone in the cultural life of Lewiston/Auburn and part of the amazing renaissance of the Twin Cities.
  • In the first season TPT produced two plays in a borrowed space at the Auburn Mall for a combined audience of 1,200 people. Currently, The Public Theatre produces six to eight productions each season for an audience of over 17,000 patrons.
  • In 1993, The Public Theatre became one of five Equity theatres in the state, hiring the very best actors from New York City and New England.
  • In the past 15 years over 175,000 patrons have attended 100 productions.
  • More than 55,000 students from almost 200 regional schools have attended special matinee performances.
  • The Public Theatre serves the region of Southern-Central Maine. Our primary audience comes from Lewiston/Auburn and surrounding Androscoggin County (population 104,000). The secondary audience is derived from communities in a fifty mile radius including parts of Cumberland, Oxford, Franklin, Kennebec and Sagadahoc counties, with a combined population of approximately 500,000.