Perseverance Theatre: Building Renovation
Program Area: Arts and Culture
Grants Received: 2003: $200,000 & $14,596; 2002: $6,731;
2001: $300,000; 2000: $3,750; 1995: $5,000; 1994: $4,500; 1992: $2,500; 1989: $1,250
Theatre is an intimate experience. Collectively, audience members escape their own reality and enter the surreal mind of the playwright. Energy from both the audience and actors fills the air; resulting in an unspoken, unscripted conversation. Actors react to the anticipation of the audience, while the audience feels the vivacity of each actor. Each performance elicits a distinct outcome. Since 1979, the Perseverance Theatre has shared this fine art of theater with community residents in Juneau and throughout Alaska.
The mission of Perseverance Theatre is 'to mine Alaska's unique cultural character to produce the finest theater our state has to offer.' In 2001, the Theatre expanded its dramatic education core when it became the resident theatre of the University of Alaska Southeast, offering both a major and minor in theatre. During their 25-year history, the Theatre has premiered over 50 new plays created by playwrights from Alaska and across the nation. One example of the quality productions the Theatre delivers is Paula Vogel's 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning, "How I Learned to Drive," both written and developed at Perseverance Theatre.
However, a variety of building issues began to impede the artistic freedom at the Theatre. A lack of a set-building area forced each set to be built on the main stage, thereby 'robbing [them] of fifteen performance weeks.' A leaky roof proved most disastrous in the wet Juneau climate; during heavy rainfall, the lobby transformed into a labyrinth of buckets, not only disrupting the Theatre traffic, but also causing a large safety liability for its patrons. The diminutive size of The Phoenix, Perserverance Theatre's rehearsal hall, relegated plays with large casts to rented spaces around Juneau, costing the Theatre thousands of dollars.
A facility expansion would enable the Theatre to increase both their production capabilities as well as their revenue generation capacity. Perseverance Theatre realized as they move towards becoming the forefront of theater education in Alaska, they will require outstanding and competitive facilities, well equipped to meet the demand for unsurpassed theatre training in Alaska.
After securing several grants and community generated in-kind donations, Perseverance Theatre began its renovation and building processes. In addition to the costume, scene, and rehearsal rooms planned for the new 4,700 square foot annex, a number of mechanical and structural upgrades will eliminate the Theatre's existing building predicaments. Perseverance Theatre forecasts project completion in October 2004, to theatre fans and actors alike, the grand opening is sure to be a premier event.