By Howard Pousner
Hard times didn’t stop Georgia Shakespeare from meeting a $50,000 challenge grant in 10 weeks, easily beating the six-month deadline.
In early June, as the troupe was starting its 25th anniversary season, the Atlanta-based John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Charitable Foundation offered $25,000 if the company could raise an additional $50,000 by year’s end. Immediately, an anonymous donor stepped forward, offering an additional $25,000 challenge.
On Wednesday, Georgia Shakespeare announced it has raised $64,000 – adding $114,000 to its general operating budget.
“We are humbled by the support we’ve received from our donors and patrons in rising to meet this challenge,” producing artistic director Richard Garner said in a statement. “It’s a very difficult climate for a challenge like this, and we are thrilled beyond measure to have met it.”
Theatergoers this summer were encouraged to make gifts, and envelopes were included inside the Georgia Shakespeare programs. Some mailed donations are still arriving.
Actors for the troupe hosted post-performance meet and greets with any contributor of $50 or more. The cast members of the various shows also stood in the lobby after each performance collecting cash gifts in red buckets. The “bucket brigade” captured 14 percent of the donations.
While the summer repertory season is wrapped, Georgia Shakespeare remains busy. Next on the boards at Oglethorpe University: “The Odyssey: A Journey Home,” opening Oct. 7 for a run through Oct. 31. Adapted by Garner and Georgia Shakespeare’s associate artists, the premiere parallels Odysseus’ 10-year trek home with that of a modern-day U.S. soldier’s return from Afghanistan.
Information: 404-504-3400, www.gashakespeare.org.