Only a few days before Hurricane Ian became a threat to Southwest Florida, Naples City Council unanimously approved The Naples Players $15m renovation of their iconic home on 5th Avenue South in Downtown Naples.
“We feel so fortunate that theater survived Hurricane Ian. We hope the news of our upcoming renovation brings joy and inspires confidence that the city of Naples is not only resilient, but will build back stronger and better than ever before” said Peggy Monson, Board President of The Naples Players.
Architect’s Rendering of the New Atrium
The Naples Players’ current home on 5th Avenue South opened more than 20 years ago. Since that time, the programs and impact to the community have experienced significant growth, but the building has remained the same. Invited to build their facility downtown in a partnership with The City of Naples in 1994, The Naples Players was charged with serving the local community in the arts while building downtown into a destination.
Today, as Naples continues its clean-up after the devastation of Hurricane Ian, the theatre has become home to the Small Business Administration’s Emergency Relief Center, which offers assistance to local business owners seeking disaster relief; provided free childcare while schools were closed; and has been welcoming community members who need A/C, Wi-Fi, or a quiet place to work.
Additionally, the theatre has re-opened by producing a production of Blithe Spirit, which was written during a time of deep loss and tragedy during WWII, and was a way to provide audiences with laughter, levity, and escape.
With Naples City Council’s recent approval, The Naples Players intends to continue its commitment to the city well into the future with their renovated facility. “We’re pleased to be an example of community-oriented, community-engaged future planning. We’ve been thrilled to work with the neighbors and the city to design a facility that honors the community’s past, and protects its future,” said Bryce Alexander, CEO & Executive Artistic Director of The Naples Players. The renovated facility has been designed by David Corban, who is known for his work throughout Southwest Florida for other philanthropic organizations including Grace Place, The Guadalupe Center, and The Naples Botanical Garden, among others.
Architect’s Rendering of the New 4th Avenue Facade
A vast majority of The Naples Players’ project will occur under the existing roofline, leaving the iconic façade facing 5th Avenue virtually untouched. But major exterior upgrades are planned for the theatre’s north side, along 4th Avenue, with the addition of a cantilevered, glass-front Educational Theatre – and bringing a much needed, significant facelift to that side of the street.
To date, TNP has raised just over $13m towards a total $15m goal – lead by an initial $1 million gift by Tanya & Denny Glass. Last year, local philanthropists Jay & Patty Baker contributed $2 million, and the late Jay Paul donated $2.5 million. Just this month, local philanthropists David & Jerri Hoffmann committed half a million dollars toward the project.
Additional lead gifts have been provided by:
Bruce & Robin Bache Gray, Theresa Bill, Bob Brady & Kathleen Callahan, The Claremont Family, The Corson Family, Sid & Diane Davis, Steven & Shelley Einhorn, John & Joanne Fisher, The Family of Robert Hill, Muffy Clark Gill, Alan & Liz Jaffe, Terry Libby, Peggy & James Monson, Henry Price, David Byron & Vicky C. Smith, The STEP Fund, Peter & Janet Swinburn, George D’Angelo & Laura St. Clair, Kevin & Dorota Kilstrom, and Nancy Woolf; with many others supporting the project, as well.
“We’re hopeful that the people of Naples will see the importance of a unique organization like The Naples Players, see what it has done for our community, and demonstrate their love and commitment by helping us raise the final $2m needed to complete the project” said Pat Pollok, chair of the theater’s Capital Campaign Committee.
The Naples Players hopes to break ground in April of 2023, with the renovated facility completed in February of 2024. The theater’s programs will continue throughout the community during construction.
For more information, or to donate to the project, please visit: naplesplayers.org/campaign/