Naples Players Announces $15 Million Revitalization
September 27, 2021
September 27th, 2021 – Naples, FL. The Naples Players (TNP) is pleased to announce a $15 Million capital project to renovate and re-imagine their home on 5th Ave South in Downtown Naples. Plans for the revitalized facility include significant improvements to the existing theaters and the creation of an additional theater designed to anchor the organization’s Educational Theatre program, serving students of all ages and abilities. To date, TNP has raised over 60% of the construction cost – and local philanthropists Jay & Patty Baker have pledged $2 Million in matching funds to help continue the current momentum.
In 1994, The City of Naples invited The Naples Players to build a theater on 5th Avenue South in a joint effort to build downtown into a destination for entertainment, dining, and shopping. TNP is now the anchor of a thriving downtown area, providing outstanding theatre and dynamic education programs that serve the local community and beyond. Since embarking on this ambitious partnership, the programs and impact to the community have experienced significant growth, yet the building remains as it was when it first opened more than 20 years ago.
“The time has come for a renewed facility that will serve the vision of Naples for many more years to come,” said Bryce Alexander, CEO & Executive Artistic Director. “With more than 60,000 annual audience members, over 650 annual volunteers, and more than 10,000 children and adults served in arts education, we are thrilled to continue to serve our community as a hub for Downtown Naples and Southwest Florida.”
The theater has hired local firm David Corban Architects to lead the project, and he has chosen to preserve the iconic facade of the theater as seen from 5th Avenue, even while overhauling the facility’s interior. The theater has also employed Theatre Consultants Collaborative to oversee the design of performance systems. TCC has worked on designs all over the world – including several in Florida – like the Manatee Center for the Performing Arts, FGCU Fine Arts, theaters at Florida State University, and others.
“The Naples Players truly defines the downtown area,” observed Bruce Barone, Jr., Executive Director of 5th Avenue South. “Besides elevating downtown in terms of art and culture, TNP patrons frequent the shops and restaurants before and after shows, which is wonderful for the economic outlook of our local businesses. The theater has had nightly waitlists for years, so the renovation will only magnify the many positive impacts that this established and trusted arts organization has had on the visitors who are already downtown.”
Visionary lead donors have named each of the three theaters in the facility. The major performance hall is named by Patty & Jay Baker as “The Kizzie Theater;” the blackbox theater named by Henry Price will be known as “The Price Studio Theater;” and the new educational theater will be “The Tanya & Denny Glass Educational Theater.”
Several prominent spaces are named in honor of generous supporters. David Byron and Vicky C. Smith have named the Mezzanine level; and John and Joanne Fisher have named the new sunset terrace on the North side of the building. Dozens of additional donors have contributed to the campaign, including every member of The Naples Players Board of Directors.
“We are honored to follow in the footsteps of TNP’s previous Boards.” Said TNP’s Board Chairperson Peggy Monson. “Including those who were part of the 1998 opening of the Sugden – and we hope to honor them today by taking the next step in the vision for TNP.”
When asked about their support of The Naples Players, Patty Baker said, “We support TNP because of its involvement with, and in, the community. Local performers—everyday people—are encouraged to participate in all facets of the theatre—performing, backstage, classes. The spaces are comfortable and inviting. The shows are interesting and varied, and the work seems to get better and better! The help the staff provided during the height of the pandemic to hospitals and locals was amazing and endeared them to so many in our community.”
Donors who wish to participate in Patty & Jay Baker’s “$2 Million in 2 Months” fundraising campaign can do so by supporting any of the projects articulated in the campaign plans.
This renovation project will greatly increase TNP’s ability to serve the community. With dynamic partnerships with more than 22 community organizations including Collier County Public Schools, STARability, Grace Place, The Alzheimer’ Association SW Florida Chapter, and The Arlington, among others, the new facility will deepen the scope of the community’s involvement. The upgraded facility will provide spaces that will allow programs and partnerships to grow and thrive. Included in this transformational project will be:
- The Kizzie Theater – A 450-seat proscenium theater with the David Byron and Vicky C. Smith Mezzanine level
- The Price Studio Theater – A 105-seat black box theater for major season programs
- The Glass Educational Theater – A 105-seat black box educational theater
- Three student rehearsal halls and classrooms
- New adult rehearsal rooms capable of hosting workshops, readings and showcases, including the Terry Libby Rehearsal Hall, and the Bob Brady & Kathleen Callahan Rehearsal Hall.
- An expanded scene shop for volunteers
- A state-of-the-art costume shop for volunteers
- A new green room & volunteer lounge, and 6 new dressing rooms.
- A community atrium, with a café and information center open to the public during the day
- The John & Joanne Fisher Rooftop Terrace
- Brand new acoustics and audio support, including the Peggy & James Monson Audio Center; and the Alan & Liz Jaffe Orchestra Pit.
Driven by more than 700 volunteers annually, The Naples Players has continued to live-up to its promise to deliver community-oriented programs and performances. Founded in the local living room of Henry and Mary Watkins in 1953, almost 70 years later, the Naples Players local legacy of service continues.
If you wish to join the effort to elevate the arts and extend outreach efforts, please contact Bryce Alexander, CEO and Executive Artistic Director at: email@example.com, 239-434-7340.