RENAISSANCE THEATERWORKS ANNOUNCES MOVE TO NEW ARTISTIC HOME FOR THE 2020-2021 SEASON
On the move in more ways than one, Renaissance Theaterworks sets sights to increase opportunities to share its women-focused mission in new artistic home found at the Next Act Theatre building in Walker’s Point.
Milwaukee, Wis. – (July 9, 2019) – Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW), Milwaukee’s only professional theater company dedicated to improving gender parity in the arts, is proud to announce that they will move to a new artistic home at the Next Act Theatre (NAT) building located just over the Milwaukee Street bridge in Walker’s Point at 255 S. Water Street at the beginning of its 2020-2021 production season. The 27-year-old theater company will perform one last season in its current home, the Broadway Theatre Center located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward at 158 N. Broadway before the move.
Dedicated to promoting the work of women onstage and off, Renaissance Theaterworks creates moving theater that connects with our shared sense of being human. RTW continues to excel on stage and in the community. Enthusiastic support for its mission at both the local and national level - including hosting last year’s national StateraArts Theater Conference for Gender Parity in Milwaukee, ongoing artistic excellence, and uninterrupted debt-free operation - underscore the company’s incredible momentum. “We’ve grown beyond the capacity of the 99-seat Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center,” shares Managing Director Lisa Rasmussen, “and we are excited to seize this moment and embrace the demand for more opportunities for the community to experience RTW. This bold move will allow us to continue on a positive trajectory for many years to come.”
All RTW 2019-2020 productions will remain at the Broadway Theatre Center (BTC). Renaissance Theaterworks’ 2020-2021 Season will open at the Next Act Theatre building in fall of 2020. “The Broadway Theatre Center has been the perfect incubator for our art, allowing us to grow over the years. We are grateful for our 15-year residency we’ve had there. It has been marked by camaraderie, cooperation, and artistic partnership with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and more recently, Joseph Property Development,” adds RTW Co-Founder and Artistic Director Suzan Fete. “We look forward to collaborating with them in new ways in the future.” Administrative offices for Renaissance Theaterworks will remain on the 5th floor of the Broadway Theatre Center.
The move to Next Act Theatre is not the first time that the two companies have shared a space. Next Act Theatre Producing Artistic Director David Cecsarini shares, “we’ve been successful housemates before,” noting the company’s collaborative history dating back to 1997 for a co-production of KINDERTRANSPORT by Diane Samuels staged at the Stiemke Theater in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater-complex, which was Next Act Theatre’s production base at the time.
RTW then joined Next Act Theatre for “a couple of fun seasons in the early 2000’s” when Next Act Theatre established its first home, The Off-Broadway at St. Paul and Water Street, prior to their current space at 255 S. Water Street. “We look forward to hosting RTW’s productions once again, and even though there is significant crossover between our audiences, we anticipate the added benefit of introducing even more people to more good theatre.” Next Act Theatre celebrates its 30th Anniversary Season in 2019-2020 and continues to share its mission to engage the hearts and minds of audiences with intimate, compelling productions intended to stimulate thought, foster the exchange of ideas, and promote the development of new perspectives and understanding.
Since its development by Next Act Theatre in 2011, the 255 S. Water Street building, owned and managed by David Winograd and LCM Funds, is gaining recognition as one of Milwaukee’s most accessible theater spaces. A recent installment of the state-of-the-art hearing loop system, in addition to handicapped parking, and an accessible ground-level layout sets this space apart from other theatres in the city. “Next Act Theatre has designed an intimate, accessible theater that will open up more possibilities for production and technical needs for RTW while remaining a close-knit and intimate atmosphere; a quality that Renaissance patrons will be happy to know will not be lost in this move,” comments Fete.
This collaboration is an exciting, strategic growth opportunity that is sure to benefit both companies and the Milwaukee community. Next Act Theatre Board President David Anderson states, “On behalf of the Next Act Board of Directors, we are delighted to welcome Renaissance Theaterworks to share our space. This is a win-win scenario; we keep the lights on for more performances and Renaissance gets our wonderful performance space with a significant increase in available seating and lobby space.”
RTW’s news of this move catapults the company into its 27th season billed as, A Season of Transformation: Stories of How and Why We Evolve. Renaissance Theaterworks Board President Jodi Ristau shares, “What an exciting new chapter ahead allowing us to further RTW’s incredible mission in our community, for our community. We are grateful to our loyal patrons, donors, Board of Directors, and the greater Milwaukee community for getting us to this turning point in our history.”
ABOUT RENAISSANCE THEATERWORKS
Renaissance Theaterworks is Milwaukee’s only women-founded, women-run professional theater company. Dedicated to promoting the work of women onstage and off, Renaissance Theaterworks creates moving theater that connects with our shared sense of being human. Founded in 1993 by Suzan Fete, Marie Kohler, Raeleen McMillion, Jennifer Rupp, and Michele Traband, RTW is the nation’s second oldest theater company with a mission to promote gender parity. RTW produces thought-provoking, intimate theater in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, making a move to a new performance space at Next Act Theatre beginning in Fall 2020. www.r-t-w.com
Renaissance Theaterworks is a member of the National New Play Network, Theater Wisconsin, Samuel French’s Playwrights Welcome, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, Visit Milwaukee, and the Historic Third Ward Association. They receive support from the United Performing Arts Fund, Brico Fund, CAMPAC, the Evinrude Foundation, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Richard & Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation, Milwaukee Arts Board, Sempercor Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the Steigleder Charitable Trust, Wisconsin Arts Board, and private donors and foundations.
ABOUT NEXT ACT THEATRE
Founded in 1990 by a merger of its predecessor companies, Theatre Tesseract and Next Generation Theatre, Next Act Theatre engages the hearts and minds of its audience with compelling and intimate theatre productions intended to stimulate thought, foster the exchange of ideas and to promote the development of new perspectives and understanding. This mission is supported by the need to bring social, cultural and political issues to the center of the community debate.
During its 29-year history, productions have involved topics such as racism, capital punishment, mental and physical disabilities, family issues, terminal illness and care-giving, troubled youth, international perspectives and conflicts, gender disparity, and responsibility owed to the community at large. Its 2019-2020 season will provide the same intimate, powerful and high quality theater that patrons have come to expect. www.nextact.org
Milwaukee Business Journal
United Performing Arts Fund
Dave Begel On Theater