Award helps theater build 'permanent fund' account

Endowment would give Perseverance more stable funding

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2001

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has awarded a $50,000 endowment gift to Perseverance Theatre to support the theater's education and training programs.

The money is slated for a savings account that will offer interest income over the long term.

"It'll act like the permanent fund," Producing Director Jeffrey Herrmann said. "It's something for the future. It doesn't have much impact in the next few months."

Herrmann said ticket sales from shows provide about one-third of the theater's budget. The rest is covered by fund-raising, grants and other sources. Income from an endowment can provide stable funding.

The gift matches a similar contribution made by the Hearst Foundation last year, bringing the theater's endowment fund to a total of $100,000. The interest from the money does not support the theater's general operations or administrative expenses, but is dedicated to funding training and education.

Training has been a part of Perseverance since it was founded in 1979. In the past 12 years, the theater's education program has provided training and employment to more than 180 artists from 36 communities throughout Alaska.

Building the endowment fund is one of several longrange projects for Herrmann and artistic director Peter DuBois. Another is developing a teaching and training partnership between the theater and the University of Alaska Southeast. Herrmann said Perseverance is assuming responsibility for the UAS theater department.

"We'll be teaching all their classes - they'll be held in our building, and ultimately we'll be offering minors and then majors in theater," Herrmann said. "We're steering away from 'Lady Lou' and 'Bear Tales' and tourist market things, and focusing on educational services. Our future lies in education."

Another project is a renovation and expansion of the theater to provide space for teaching and a shop for set construction.

"Peter and I are setting up things that are really going to bear fruit in the next three to five years," Herrmann said.

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.



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