The Goodman Becomes the First Chicago Theater to Establish a Facility for Educational Programs With the “Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education & Engagement”

More than $11 million has been secured for the $15 Million project, including Michael Sachs’ naming gift in memory of his late wife Alice B. Rapoport, Trustee and Arts Education Advocate

Theater Completes its $15 Million “Endowing Excellence” Campaign for the Future”

CHICAGO, IL – Goodman Theatre Board of Directors Chair Joan Clifford, Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer announce plans to establish the “Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement”—a $15 million expansion effort that realizes the theater’s 30-year commitment to using its art as education: empowering and inspiring individuals through the process of creating and experiencing live theater. Working with Wheeler Kearns Architects on a lease agreement with Friedman Properties, the Goodman will connect its current facility at 170 N. Dearborn with an adjacent upper-level space (at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Randolph, above Petterino’s restaurant) and transform 7,800 square feet into classrooms, a hands-on STEM learning lab, rehearsal spaces and more. The new facility will enable the Goodman to grow its education and outreach programs by 30%—tripling the number of educators served in its teacher training program, doubling the number of young people reached through youth intensive activities, and enabling year-round adult and intergenerational activity. In addition, the Center provides greater space for audiences to engage in performance-related dialogue and discussion; patrons will access the Center though the Goodman’s second-floor lobby.

Private contributions from the theater’s longtime education and engagement champions exceed $11 million, including: a naming gift by Michael A. Sachs in memory of his late wife and Trustee Alice B. Rapoport; Trustee Roger and Julie Baskes (naming the “Baskes Rotunda” meeting room); Trustee Joan and Robert Clifford (naming the Center lobby); and Trustee Kimbra and Mark Walter (Walter Family Foundation naming the Director of Education and Engagement’s position and endowing PlayBuild Youth Intensive). Under the leadership of Trustee Michael O’Halleran, the theater launches its “Engaging Community, Expanding Minds” fundraising campaign for the Center.

In addition, the Goodman announces its completion of the “Endowing Excellence” campaign initiated in 2011—a $15 million initiative designed to ensure permanent resources for the theater.

“For 90 years the Goodman has been one of the biggest stars on the Chicago stage—an essential cultural asset to our city—and I congratulate them on this ground-breaking next step,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This expansion will provide even greater arts opportunities to reach deeper into our neighborhoods, providing thought-provoking and innovative education programs, engaging a new generation.”

“This is an exciting moment for Goodman Theatre, as the Center actualizes our long term commitment to being an institution that is dedicated to artistic achievement and community engagement in equal measure,” said Robert Falls, who established the Goodman’s education programs when he became artistic director in 1986. “As demand for our programs has increased in the past decade during the leadership of Willa Taylor—a remarkable artist, educator and activist—our ability to meet our participants’ needs has become limited due to lack of space in the current facility. It’s time to grow.”

Executive Director Roche Schulfer added, “The Center is a major development in our history as it builds on our values as a cultural institution: investing in the highest quality on stage, promoting aesthetic and cultural diversity, and forging an intrinsic connection to the Chicago community. The Center will enable us to engage with a wider range of education, business, social service, health and civic organizations and audiences in ways that stem from the content on stage.”

“Arts as education means using our art to move our community beyond the volitional acts of looking and hearing to more transformative acts of seeing, listening and witnessing. Every adult and teen who builds a spoken word piece together witnesses the commonalities in their shared experience—and learns to be less afraid of each other,” said Willa J. Taylor, the Goodman’s newly retitled Walter Director of Education and Engagement. “I am grateful to all who have made the Center possible, and particularly thrilled that this special space will bear the name of one of our greatest advocates, who radically transformed the way we approach our work with schools.”

Chicago civic leader Michael A. Sachs’ gift honors Rapoport, an active Goodman Trustee and past chair of the theater’s Education Committee who was heavily involved in the theater’s education and outreach efforts from 2000 until her untimely death in 2014.

“Alice loved nothing more than to see young people exposed to the magic of theater; she would marvel at the interaction between students and the artists. ‘The Alice’ will provide the Goodman with a unique venue to carry on Alice’s dream: bringing people together, helping students achieve their potential and making Chicago a better place,” said Sachs, Chairman of TLSG, Inc., an investment advisory and consulting firm.

About the Goodman’s Education and Engagement Programs

  • Student Subscription Series (SSS) is the theater’s longest running program, a unique process-oriented series that serves 2,800 students and 70 teachers currently, primarily from Chicago public high schools. The SSS unites Goodman staff with teachers—two to three per school, including at least one non-humanities teacher—who attend professional development workshops to learn how to use the tools of the industry to differentiate instruction, build curriculum that connects the plays on stage with students’ classroom studies and activate student engagement. Students attend special matinee performances with post-show discussions. The Center will enable the Goodman to triple the number of teacher training participants working with Golden Apple Foundation and the Chicago Teacher’s Union.
  • PlayBuild: Youth Intensive is a comprehensive six-week summer workshop focused on empowering young people through the act of creating theater. This program currently serves approximately 80 young people, between the age of 14 and 18, from a wide variety of backgrounds. The Center will enable the Goodman to expand Play Build: Youth Intensive to a year round program, at least doubling the number of participants.
  • PlayBuild: Third Age is a program for older adults that combines writing personal narrative with the act of creating theater, culminating in a performance.
  • GeNarrations is a personal narrative performance workshop for adults 55+. Using the themes of Goodman productions as a foundation, participants develop personal performance pieces which they are able to present to an audience. The Goodman offers three, six-week sessions each season, which will increase to four in the Center with more than 100 participants.
  • InterGens is an intergenerational summer program in which participants in GeNarrations collaborate with youth in PlayBuild to create performance works. InterGens will expand to a year-round program in the Center.
  • Stage Chemistry is Goodman Theatre’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards-based curriculum developed in partnership with GCE Lab School. Stage Chemistry introduces teachers and students to the math, science and technology of theatrical production. The Center will enable the Goodman to develop STEM in theater lab space to provide students with interactive experiences in the geometry, chemistry and physics of technical theater.
  • Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program, named for the Goodman’s longtime press director Cindy Bandle (1955 -2005), is an initiative that increases awareness of arts journalism and involves 25-30 teenage women each year from the metropolitan area, working with the guidance of mentors from the Association of Women Journalists. These young women receive full press credentials and review each Goodman production. The Goodman and mentors then work to place the reviews on a Goodman blog and in a variety of media outlets. The Center will make it possible to increase participation in this program by providing space for mentor meetings and evaluations.
  • Community Engagement Series offers five annual events at which specific constituencies are celebrated and/or a free performance is provided for military families, first responders and community-based organizations. In FY13, this diversity effort attracted over 1,000 people, most of whom were attending a Goodman production or program for the first time. The Center will enhance the experience of the series for participants by providing room for ancillary activities such as lectures, classes, receptions and artist encounters.
  • Goodman Youth Arts Council allows young alumni of Goodman programs to stay involved with the theater by being ambassadors in their communities and schools, promoting young audience development events and volunteering at major events at the Goodman (such as opening nights and benefits). The Center would provide the opportunity for more gatherings of the YACS throughout the year.
  • CONTEXT: Discourse and Discussion is a series involving approximately 500 participants each season in public discussions with artists and civic leaders about contemporary issues related to each Goodman productions. The Center will provide space for additional CONTEXT events, increasing the annual participation.
  • Teaching August Wilson is a weeks-long blended learning course for teachers to develop skills and techniques  to incorporate August Wilson’s work into high school curricula. While many high school teachers are interested in Wilson’s plays, most feel culturally unprepared to adequately explore the work with their students. Goodman teaching artists will conduct classes in the Center to “teach the teacher.”
  • Teaching Artists Training. The Center will provide classrooms that will lead to an expanded roster of qualified Goodman teaching artists which in turn will allow us to work more closely with community organizations around the city.