As the world of live theater struggles to resume this fall after a long hiatus from the pandemic, former student, art lover and philanthropist Roe Green is helping welcome students and the community with a record-breaking donation of 5 million dollars for the CU Boulder theater program.
The donation, the largest ever to the Department of Theater and Dance, will fund a complete acoustic upgrade of the university theater and establish endowment funds for scholarships, theater maintenance and kick-off events. »Designed to launch students’ careers.
“Roe Green’s philanthropy has transformed CU theater and will continue to benefit students, staff and faculty for decades to come,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano.
Artist renditions of the new Roe Green Theater, which will open in fall 2023 at CU Boulder.
To recognize Green’s generosity, the university will change the name of University theater at the Roe Green Theater. After a period of renovations in 2022-2023, the theater is expected to officially reopen under its new name in the fall of 2023.
Professor Bud Coleman, Roe Green Chair in Theater, has worked with Green for nearly 20 years to meet the needs of the Theater and Dance Department at CU.
“She is more than a fairy godmother; she is our famous alumnus, beneficent donor and longtime friend, ”he said.
Theater: what makes us human
Green first fell in love with the theater as a student at CU Boulder in the late 1960s. Although she first started out as an art major, her world changed after her she volunteered to take notes for a faculty director during a drama class in her first year. This led to several executive assistant opportunities, and from there the magic of the theater drew her in and never let go.
A lover of the backstage theater and the elements of management, Green continued to develop her passion for the art and graduated from CU in 1970 with her BA in Theater and Communication. She later earned her Masters in Theater from Kent State University and established herself as a Stage and Corporate Director for theaters in her home state of Ohio.
When considering her education, Green attributes her trust to her acting lessons.
“I’m not afraid to talk to people,” Green said. “Every child should have an acting class. “
Green is one of CU Boulder’s largest artistic donors to date, having previously established the Roe Green Drama Artist Residency Program and the first Faculty Chair with the Drama Department. Outside of CU, she has offered gifts to name the Roe Green Center for the Kent State University School of Drama and Dance. It also finances the Roe Green Traveling Masters Program, a national education program in the art of writing on stage produced by the New York-based Dramatists Guild Foundation.
Green continues to support CU Boulder and other theater programs across the country because of his strong belief in the power of storytelling.
“Theater and the performing arts make us human,” she said. “This is how we pass on what we know. “
Invest in innovation
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, some things may have changed in the way live theater was presented, but the dreams of talented young people never stopped. With his gift, Green celebrates those dreams in this new era for the performing arts.
The largest portion of Green’s $ 2 million donation will support an acoustic overhaul of the current varsity theater space. Built in 1904, the theater building was originally constructed as the campus library and helped define the historic Norlin Quadrangle.
With the last major renovation over 30 years ago, the once new elements of the theater’s architecture and equipment are now obsolete. New structures and equipment will allow for better acoustic performance and better noise control, creating a more immersive audience experience.
“I like to joke that this is not a renovation but a Roe-novation,” said Erika Randall, chair of the theater and dance department. “The Roe Green Theater will be home to world-class theater and dance and will be a transformative space for generations of students deeply invested in transforming the arts and refining their creativity. We are deeply grateful to Roe and believe her passion for the arts will forever spark learning in future students. “
The architect chosen for the renovation, Architecture workshop, is a Denver-based company that emphasizes a team approach in its design. Their work has already been recognized for its excellence in historical renovation, including in performing arts venues.
“In addition to a performance hall, the Roe Green Theater is also a teaching laboratory,” Coleman said. “In this state-of-the-art space, students will experience the acoustic properties of the human voice and sound design. “
Green’s donation will also establish a scholarship fund endowed with $ 1.5 million for theater students, providing them with financial support for their studies, be they performers, stage managers, theater designers. lighting, directors or other supporting roles. In addition, it will create a $ 1 million endowment fund to support long-term renovations, ongoing maintenance and improvements to the Roe Green Theater.
Another $ 500,000 from Green’s donation will deliver innovative “kick-off” programming designed to propel next-level theater students to the next stage in their careers. As part of this program, students will travel to cities like New York or Los Angeles for professional auditions, presentations, festivals or conferences that will help them land career opportunities after graduation.
“We are excited to add the Roe Green introductory program to our range of career counseling courses and activities,” said Coleman. “Our goal is for theater students to create a business plan before they graduate so that when they leave, these alumni are independent artists with a strategy to achieve their goals.”