Arts & Culture

Campus theaters land two grants to expand programming

Palm Beach State College has received two grants totaling more than $183,000 to expand programming and boost marketing for its three campus theaters.

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Singer Darlene Love will be the headliner in one of the four shows that are part of a new Rockin’ Radio in the Gardens series at the Eissey Campus Theatre.

The grants include $136,425 from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and $46,184 from the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.

The Duncan Theatre on the Lake Worth campus, Eissey Campus Theatre on the Palm Beach Gardens campus and the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center on the Belle Glade campus came together to pursue the grants. The move followed a reorganization last year that consolidated the theaters into one division.

“We are now coordinating all of our efforts between campus theaters and seeking opportunities that benefit the campuses and the community,’’ said Mark Alexander, executive director of theaters. He oversees the division and manages the day-to-day operations of the Duncan Theatre while working closely with Leigh Woodham, Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center manager, and Ann Faber, manager at the Eissey Campus Theatre.

Alexander said they are expanding programming at the Eissey Campus Theatre this upcoming season with the introduction of two new series, including Rockin’ Radio in the Gardens, which includes four shows highlighting music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, one of which features headliner singer Darlene Love.  There also will be a new weekend family series targeting those with children ages 4 to 9.

“You have to have programs that are popular that people want to go to. We are making sure the programming is of the highest quality and of general interest to the community,’’ Alexander said. “We also believe it’s a great opportunity for us to bring families onto the campus to not only enjoy a day out with family, but also to see that Palm Beach State College has a lot to offer. Maybe those families have teenagers that are getting ready to make decisions and will now think about Palm Beach State College.”

In addition, the theater membership program that has been successfully in place for nine years at the Duncan Theatre also has been expanded to the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center and the Eissey Campus Theatre. Through the program, members pay a yearly fee to get access to priority seating and advanced notices about upcoming events.

“Memberships will be reciprocal between all three theaters,” Alexander said. “Our hope is that it will lead to increased fundraising efforts for the theaters.”

The Eissey Campus Theatre whose programming has largely consisted of rentals will experience a bulk of the expansion. “We never did a lot of programming, and now with these grants we will be able to offer more programs,” Faber said.

“There is so much potential to grow, especially in the northern part of the county, which is underserved for art and culture,’’ Alexander added.

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