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DCPA Theatre Company Selected for Wallace Foundation Audience-Building Initiative
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is proud to announce that they have been selected for the New York-based Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability effort – a  new, six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how exemplary performing arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences, the foundation announced today. As part of the Wallace initiative, the DCPA Theatre Company was awarded $410,000 to focus on learning more about the millennial generation through past Off-Center prototypes and new audience/market research, ultimately designing, creating and marketing a new mainstage production that will serve as a model for millennial focused programming.

“We are honored to have been selected by the Wallace Foundation,” said Kent Thompson, Producing Artistic Director for the Theatre Company. “This generous grant provides the Theatre Company with the resources to experiment with an innovative format on our mainstage. The Wallace Foundation has also given us the priceless gift of time. We’re eager to complete this important research that will help the Theatre Company continue to attract audiences of all generations.”

The Theatre Company was one of 26 arts organizations from around the country that were selected to be a part of the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative and noted by the foundation for their artistic excellence. Each organization will design and implement programs to attract new audiences while retaining current ones, measuring whether and how this contributes to their overall financial sustainability. In addition to theatres, the organizations represent a spectrum of artistic disciplines, from dance and opera companies to orchestras and multidisciplinary arts institutions. The selected partners will receive financial and technical support from the foundation to develop, implement, analyze, and learn from their audience-building work. The evidence gathered from their work will be documented and analyzed by a Wallace-commissioned independent team of researchers, providing valuable insights, ideas, and information for the entire field.

 “The arts are essential on both a personal level, providing us with experiences that open us to new perspectives, and on a community level, helping us to find common ground,” said Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation. “However, attracting and engaging new audiences is challenging for arts organizations because, even as the number of arts groups has grown, national rates of participation in the arts have declined, arts education has waned, and competition for ways to spend leisure time has increased. We are confident that the 26 organizations selected from a pool of more than 300 identified by leaders in the arts nationwide will provide new insights that will benefit the field at large, helping to bring the arts to a broader and more diverse group of people.”

The Theatre Company will receive grant support from Wallace to fund at least two “continuous learning cycles” of work. Over the course of four years, the Theatre Company will receive $410,000 to develop and implement a new audience-building program (first cycle), study the results, and then use the findings to implement a second cycle of programs. The Theatre Company will also receive funding for audience research to inform the work.
About The Denver Center for the Performing Arts
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is a not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. The DCPA is one the nation’s most active theatre companies, offering more than 30 plays and musicals year-round that engage and inspire audiences of all ages and interests.

The Theatre Company is helmed by Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson and is currently in its 36th season.
About The Wallace Foundation
Based in New York City, The Wallace Foundation is an independent national philanthropy dedicated to fostering improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone. It seeks to catalyze broad impact by supporting the development, testing, and sharing of new solutions and effective practices. At, the Foundation maintains an online library about what it has learned, including knowledge from its current efforts aimed at: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement, helping selected cities make good afterschool programs available to more children, expanding arts learning opportunities for children and teens, providing high-quality  summer learning programs to disadvantaged children and enriching and expanding the school day in ways that benefit students, and helping arts organizations build their audiences.

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