Wheelock Family Theatre Receives $100,000 Grant

July 23, 2014

The Massachusetts Cultural Council selected Wheelock College as a recipient of a $100,000 Capital Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund.

The matching grant will be used to implement improvements to the Wheelock Family Theatre that will significantly improve access and enhance the performance experience for both Wheelock Family Theatre artists and audiences, including new audience seating, state of the art lighting, and other elements.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council Capital Grant Program provides matching grants to assist with the acquisition, final-stage design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation or other capital improvements or deferred maintenance of Cultural Facilities in Massachusetts. Through grants and advisory assistance, this program promotes the development of Cultural Facilities that are thoughtfully planned and developed, contribute to the cultural and economic lives of their communities, have a transformative impact on the community, and are supported by significant matching contributions from the private sector.

This is the second grant for WFT from the Cultural Facilities Fund. In 2007, WFT was awarded a Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grant to conduct a capital needs assessment to engage Flansburgh Architects, a nationally recognized Boston-based architectural design firm, to develop an objective plan providing information and analysis regarding necessary renovations.

"The Massachusetts Cultural Council is proud to be a longstanding supporter of the Wheelock Family Theatre in its mission to bring the power of live theatre to children and adults in Greater Boston and beyond," said Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. "This new grant will help ensure that the theatre is a sound, comfortable facility for current and future families to enjoy."
"We're thrilled that the MCC Cultural Facilities grant will help us modernize Wheelock Family Theatre [WFT]," said Wendy Lement, producer of Wheelock Family Theatre. "The award will enable us to support children and families by expanded programming; providing greater access, and bringing talented individuals from across the country and around the world to Boston. We look forward to continue making unique and important contribution to Boston's vibrant cultural community, all made possible, in large part, by support from the MCC."

Wheelock College is home to Wheelock Family Theatre (WFT), whose mission is rooted in the interaction between the theatre experience and the construction of meaning in the lives of the artists who create it and the audience members who sustain it. The Theatre's intention is simple, yet demanding-to make theatre a vital force in people's lives. To realize this mission, WFT makes quality theatre accessible to all segments of the Greater Boston community and beyond. A professional Actor's Equity theatre, WFT employs Boston's finest actors, directors, designers, and stage managers in critically acclaimed and frequently sold-out productions.

Wheelock Family Theatre is recognized locally and nationally for innovation and achievement in
inclusive programming and access. Its efforts have been recognized with a 2005 Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities (LEAD) Award. WFT was one of the first theatres in the country to audio-describe productions for patrons who are blind, and the first to open caption all performances for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Since its inception, WFT has interpreted every production in American Sign Language. WFT was instrumental in introducing these services and new technologies to other professional theatres in Boston.

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