Theatre Jax, Celebrating 100 Years

Florida’s longest running community theatre and Florida’s oldest community foundation have been partners for decades.

For 100 years, Theatre Jacksonville has delivered first class performances, but it also enriches lives and broadens cultural understanding through community participation in theatre arts.

Executive Director Sarah Boone knows only too well how much it takes to keep the curtain rising. She says support by the Foundation and its donors has helped Theatre Jacksonville fulfill its mission. She’s particularly grateful for the Harold K. Smith Playhouse Endowment for its generous funding of repair and maintenance of their 1930’s-era building.

Sarah Boone

“When you’re not worried about how to fix the roof or upgrade the electrical system, you can think more broadly about how to help people fulfill their creativity and bring joy to audiences,” says Boone.

 

Our partnership with TheatreJax has also helped provide important civic moments. In 1991, The Community Foundation, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Cultural Council funded “Looking Through the Windows of Diversity” – a series of programs that used theater to foster interracial communications. In 1997, we helped underwrite “The Piano Lesson,” with Theatre Jacksonville’s first all-African American cast.

Boone credits TCF’s program and development staff for important connections to expand their work, like the Theatre for Babies program she was able to launch with the support of Meredith Chartrand. The theatre has also benefited from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund and the Delores Barr Weaver Forever Event Fund, and the Tom Nehl Fund. And in recognition of its 100th anniversary, Theatre Jacksonville is mounting a $2 million campaign for its operations endowment, which is housed at The Community Foundation.

“When we decided to create an endowment to support our operations, we didn’t look anywhere else,” says Boone. “The Community Foundation was the only place it should be.”