Arrangement will offer significant cost savings to both organizations through shared staffing agreements and joint administrative operations; organizations to remain independent
Organizations to present Backstage Ball, joint fundraising gala and concert, in celebration of expanded partnership on May 29
April 22, 2014 (Albany, NY) – The Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse today formally announced a strategic shared services alliance which will further strengthen and expand areas of partnership for the two celebrated downtown Albany arts organizations.
The announcement comes after a period of sustained growth and success for both organizations, which have each reported surpluses in recent years, including an increase in revenue, number of shows and attendance at their respective venues.
City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined executives from the Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse to announce the partnership, which is designed to reduce costs and allow each organization to provide additional services to patrons while expanding their programming impact on the Capital Region.
Most notably, the arrangement will include shared staffing agreements and joint administrative services that will extend to box office operations and front-of-house management.
The Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse will remain independent organizations. Additionally, Park Playhouse will expand its traditional summer free outdoor theatre programming to fall and winter productions, which will be staged at the historic Palace Theatre.
The announcement also included a special preview performance from Jake Goodman, who will play the title role in the upcoming Park Playhouse production of Oliver!, which will take the stage in Albany’s Washington Park as the theatre program’s second production for the 2014 season beginning August 2.
“The Palace is excited to expand our relationship with Park Playhouse in the coming years. As not-for-profit organizations, we realize the benefits and importance of working collaboratively while maintaining our independent brands. We believe this model can serve as a blueprint for other arts organizations throughout the region,” said Palace Theatre Executive Director Holly Brown. “We look forward to creating new opportunities for both the Palace and Park Playhouse as we move ahead with this partnership.”
“It is truly ideal for these two leading Albany arts organizations to come together in an effort to strengthen and elevate their own programming through dynamic work with one another,” said Park Playhouse Producing Artistic Director and Palace Theatre Managing Director Owen Smith. “Park Playhouse is thrilled to work closely with the Palace to improve the patron experience in both venues and expand our own efforts to bring high-quality, free musical theatre to the community.”
“Collaboration has become an essential element and key ingredient for vitality in the Capital Region arts community. This new partnership between the Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse will lead to additional opportunities for growth and even greater success than what these established organizations have previously achieved on their own,” said City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
The strategic alliance between the Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse will include the following elements:
- Shared staffing arrangements, including the dual role of Smith as producing artistic director of Park Playhouse and managing director of the Palace Theatre, along with the sharing of several other staff members. The arrangement represents a savings in excess of $50,000 to both organizations and allows more revenue to be dedicated to artistic and educational programming. The Palace and Park Playhouse will continue to explore staff sharing in the areas of financial management, development and production management.
- Park Playhouse has relocated its administrative offices to the Palace, which will significantly reduce overhead costs for the free theatre program and help facilitate effective sharing of staff resources. Phone numbers for Park Playhouse administrative offices and box office will remain the same.
- Park Playhouse will expand its student-performed programming into the fall and winter months with youth productions staged at the Palace Theatre. This will allow Park Playhouse to meet growing demand to expand its youth production work on a year-round basis.
- Effective for the 2014 season, the Palace Theatre will oversee ticketing operations for Park Playhouse. For the first time in the organization’s history, patrons will be able to purchase tickets to Park Playhouse shows in advance from a walk-up box office location, which will be located at the Palace and available beginning June 1. Palace Theatre staff will also help operate the Park Playhouse on-site venue in Washington Park, which will provide significant savings for the free theatre and improve overall box office services for patrons.
- Park Playhouse will oversee all productions in the Palace’s Arts in Education series, including the production of student-oriented shows at the Palace and touring productions to local schools. This element will begin with the upcoming production of Pinkalicious: The Musical at the Palace Theatre on Tuesday, April 29.
- The Palace Theatre will oversee front-of-house management for Park Playhouse, to include scheduling house managers, ushers and security staff. This arrangement will continue to improve operations at the Washington Park venue and the overall patron experience.
In celebration of the new partnership, the Palace Theatre and Park Playhouse will host a joint fundraiser to equally benefit both organizations at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, May 29 at 6 p.m.
The event will include an on-stage VIP gala reception with refreshments, cocktails and live piano entertainment before a Concert Presentation of Side by Side by Sondheim from Park Playhouse actors and musicians beginning at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the VIP gala reception are $150. Tickets for only the Sondheim Concert Presentation are $25. To purchase tickets, please contact Maureen Neufeld at 518-465-3335 ext. 121.
The 2014 Park Playhouse summer season begins with Hands on a Hardbody from July 1 through 26 and will continue with Oliver! from August 2 through 16. Online ticket sales will begin on May 1 at www.parkplayhouse.com, where more information about the summer productions can be found.
The Palace Theatre season continues with “Scooby-Doo Live: Music Mysteries!” on Thursday, April 24, comedian Bill Burr on April 27, and Family Feud on May 2. For more information about the 2014 season at the Palace Theatre, visit www.palacealbany.com.
About Palace Theatre
The Palace Theatre has been Albany’s iconic downtown landmark for the last eight decades – bringing the biggest names in entertainment to the Capital Region. This grand cultural and entertainment facility first opened its doors in October 1931. Built during the Depression, the 2,800-seat Palace was the largest theatre in the region noted for a number of opulent movie houses. Today, the Palace remains the sole survivor of this period of entertainment. Its storied stage has seen more than 5,000 stars such as Bob Hope, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Seinfeld, and great Broadway hits like Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray and more. Arguably the most notable concert event took place at the Palace Theatre in April of 1965 when the now legendary Rolling Stones appeared here on their first tour of the United States. The venue is managed by The Palace Performing Arts Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and currently plays host to more than 100 world-class arts and entertainment events each year. The theatre has a significant economic footprint with over $3.5 million in ticket sales and 150,000 patrons annually. The Palace is a primary economic engine for downtown Albany.
About Park Playhouse
Park Playhouse augments the quality of life for a diverse audience in the Capital District by producing free musicals and plays in an outdoor setting and providing arts education programs to young people in the community. By providing free admission at our productions, we make theatre an all-inclusive art form, accessible to people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. Our educations programs teach valuable life lessons about collaboration and teamwork, while helping to train the area’s next generation of theatre artists. Park Playhouse takes a leadership role in enhancing the cultural landscape of New York’s Capital Region.