By Howard Pousner
Georgia Ensemble Theatre has announced that it has received a $260,000 grant, giving “new life” to the Roswell company founded in 1992.
That was the phrase GET board president Carla Crowell used to describe the impact of the Thoresen Foundation grant on north Fulton’s only professional theater company and one of only a handful of metro professional troupes operating outside I-285.
“It provides the stability we need to enter our third decade of fulfilling the theater’s mission of captivating the current generation of theater-goers while, at the same time, nurturing future generations,” Crowell said in a statement.
The grant marks a sharp reversal of fortunes for GET, which in July 2009 launched an emergency fundraising drive after running up a more than $100,000 deficit, the worst in its history.
GET managing director Anita Allen-Farley said the theater, operating with a $850,000 budget this year, had designated a $45,000 surplus to go toward deficit reduction, with plans to raise an additional $90,000 over the next two years to retire its debt. Instead, the funds now will build a reserve account.
Based in Canton, the Thoresen Foundation has a history of giving to environmental and educational causes. Michael Thoresen, president of the family foundation, has only recently become a supporter of GET via a friendship with a theater employee. The foundation supplied funding for sound equipment and an unrestricted $110,000 grant last year.
“You keep hearing this, but it’s all relationships,” said Allen-Farley, wife of GET artistic director Robert Farley. “Because we all just really hit it off.”
She described Thoresen, who is out of the country and unavailable for comment, as extremely low profile and uninterested in attention.
He is not on GET’s board. “Doesn’t want to be on our board,” she said, “doesn’t want to meet our board.”
Does the board want to meet the mystery donor?
“Yes, they do!”
GET’s 19th season continues with “Glimpses of the Moon,” opening Nov. 3.