Home News Prescott Heart for the Arts Receives a Massive, Sudden, Nameless Donation

Prescott Heart for the Arts Receives a Massive, Sudden, Nameless Donation


It didn’t occur fairly often, Robyn Allen thought, {that a} stranger handed you $three million to maintain your online business from closing.

She was a number of months right into a fundraising marketing campaign designed to maintain Prescott Heart for the Arts open when the nameless reward was provided. Allen, the chief director of the venue, wasn’t positive the donation was an actual factor at first.

“Then we bought a name from a person who mentioned to open a checking account, and the cash would present up there,” she mentioned. “I assumed, Yeah, proper. However I referred to as the financial institution, they usually confirmed that this was legit — that this was how nameless donations normally labored.”

She has no concept of the identification of PCA’s benefactor; the donation was dealt with by attorneys representing the mysterious donor. She does know that the dough arrived within the nick of time; when it did, she figured, the humanities middle was $350,000 within the gap.

“We had shut down each our levels and I’d transformed the place right into a service group. We bought on the cellphone with all 6,000 of our patrons and requested in the event that they have been okay. We had volunteers taking medication to folks, going out to entertain folks of their houses.”

In July, Allen determined, they needed to get again to elevating cash to avoid wasting the middle. After many years in theater, lots of them spent operating small efficiency venues, Allen knew how to try this.

She considered herself as a late starter within the performing recreation. “I used to be in my 20s, means behind the eight ball, after I bought going as an actor. I advanced into directing. I may see shapes and I favored interacting with actors.”

She studied at ASU below Tony-winning director Marshall Mason, then labored with youngsters as a educating theater artist. That led to a job as director of training at Phoenix Theatre, and a tenure as creative director at Theater Works in Peoria. She and her husband moved to Prescott a few years in the past.

Six weeks after they arrived up north, Allen bought phrase that the Heart for the Arts was searching for an govt director.

“I assumed I used to be semi-retired,” she defined. “I had stopped working and realized to cook dinner. However when the one job you know the way to do opens up in your yard, it seems like destiny.”

She wasn’t positive she wished to return to group theater, however when the venue’s administration requested her to assist work out the place the earnings have been going, she was in.

Today Allen thinks much less about fixing revenue margins and extra about what theater will appear like, post-pandemic. She didn’t like the thought of compelled social distancing by promoting each different row in a theater. She knew that some playhouses have been doing livestreaming performances. “However theater can’t simply be Zoom,” she swore. “That’s not theater.”

Typically she got here up with wild concepts, she admitted. “My husband and I have been out kayaking, and I began to take a look at the gorgeous panorama. We have been planning on doing Mamma Mia! final June, and I bought to considering possibly we may movie the dance numbers out right here, and simply undertaking them onto the stage and —”

Allen stops speaking, then laughs. “My thoughts goes to bizarre locations after I’m enthusiastic about easy methods to save a theater.”

Having been rescued is thrilling, but in addition bittersweet. “We’re utilizing the cash to improve all our tools and constructing a brand new studio theater right here. However I’m having a tough time celebrating. I’m concurrently pleased for our theater and unhappy for all of the theaters which might be struggling.”

She’s been speaking to different theater managers about how they could yank themselves out of a monetary gap.

“We have been within the course of of creating our venue cabaret-style, earlier than the reward,” she defined. “So I’m speaking about how to try this. And there’s plenty of dialogue about easy methods to keep optimistic, to maintain shifting ahead though we don’t know what theater will appear like after COVID.”

She didn’t need to imagine that reside theater would simply go away. “We’re going to have a good time onstage with an viewers watching, sooner or later,” she insisted. “We’re going to have one other occasion on stage once more. If somebody can provide you $three million to avoid wasting your theater, something is feasible.”