How about a Coke?
The Alliance Theatre has answered that in the affirmative by announcing plans to name its renovated mainstage for the soft-drink giant. The Alliance remains at the Woodruff Arts Center this season but, in 2017/18, will perform off campus during construction. The company, the largest regional theater in the Southeast, returns to the Woodruff and the newly christened Coca-Cola Stage in 2018/19, its 50th anniversary season. The 200-seat studio space, the Hertz Stage, will retain its name.
The name change comes in response to the Coca-Cola Co.’s multimillion-dollar donation to the Woodruff Arts Center’s Transformation fundraising campaign. The campaign, incidentally, has ended with donations of $110 million, $10 million above the original goal and ahead of its two-year time frame. Two other large gifts put the campaign over the top:
- $1 million from the city of Atlanta.
- $2.5 million from the Delta Air Lines Foundation and dedicated to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Musicians’ Endowment Fund. The gift will allow the ASO to reach its full complement of 88 players. Going forward, the principal tuba chair will be known as the Delta Air Lines chair.
The campaign focused on three areas: endowment funding, capital improvements (primarily the Alliance renovation) and funding for expanded family programming and increased use of the arts center campus.
Nearly 700 donors contributed to the campaign, says Janine Musholt, the Woodruff’s senior vice president of advancement. Leading donors (more than $1 million) include the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, Anne Cox Chambers, the James M. Cox Foundation, the Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, the Kendeda Fund, the Zeist Foundation, the UPS Foundation, the Abraham J. and Phyllis Katz Foundation, the Marcus Foundation, the city of Atlanta, Connie and Merrell Calhoun, Sally and Carl Gable, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Joy and Tony Greene, Lila and Doug Hertz, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Lucy and Gary Lee, Marianna and Solon Patterson, the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, Carla and Leonard Wood and the estate of Betty Holland.
The Alliance renovation is the first major change for the theater since it was built in 1968. Construction, beginning this summer, will follow the blueprints of Trahan Architects in New York. The new Alliance, expected to cost about $22 million, is designed to have world-class acoustics, comfortable seating that gets the audience closer to the stage (long an issue in the current mainstage space), more dressing and green room spaces for actors and artists, and two new spaces for rehearsals, education classes, and cast and donor events.