Jacob’s Pillow raised more than $150,000 to save it’s Inside/Out Stage during the 2010 season of dance in the Berkshires. The amount is fifty percent more than the goal. More than one thousand people donated during the Festival and gifts ranged from one dollar bills donated by children too short to see over the top of the donation baskets, to multi-thousand-dollar pledges from private donors. The Inside/Out stage hosts more than 40 free public dance performances each season in the Pillow’s outdoor Marcia and Seymour Simon Performance Space.
“The outpouring of public support we received during this initiative is inspiring, and very moving. We’ve shot past our goal and the donations are still coming in,” comments Ella Baff, Executive Director of Jacob’s Pillow.
“We had members of the community who gave every time they attended a performance, children donated their allowances, tourists and newcomers to dance were inspired to give, alumni of The School at Jacob’s Pillow and our Intern Program contributed online from across the country and around the world, entire families pooled donations together to honor the memory of loved ones with named benches and picnic tables, and countless others.”
Originally built in 1981 to provide additional rehearsal space for The School at Jacob’s Pillow, the Inside/Out stage does not meet today’s construction standards and must be completely rebuilt in order to be in operation next season. A new foundation, steel framing, and complete reconstruction of the stage and dance surface are required. The rebuild also enables improvements in stage size, entrances, a dressing area for the artists, and a musician’s platform. In addition, the seating area will be re-graded and the existing benches re-set for better sightlines. Care is being taken in planning these changes to ensure that the site’s beloved simplicity and natural charm is maintained. Construction is slated to start in the spring and be completed by June 2011.
Inside/Out is a public stage which features free performances by emerging and established dance companies from all over the world and showings by dancers of The School every Wednesday through Saturday during the Festival. This season, the Inside/Out series included performances by hip-hop group Rennie Harris RHAW, contemporary company Yesid Lopez Contemporary Dance, Czech choreographer Dušan Týnek, and many others. The 2010 Inside/Out series attracted more than 17,500 audience members, marking the highest audience numbers in Inside/Out history and exceeding last season’s audiences by 3,000 people.
The Save the Inside/Out Stage initiative to raise $100,000 launched in June and ran throughout the 2010 Festival to the end of August. After each of the 40 free public dance performances offered on the Inside/Out stage, various members of the community, including past performers, faculty of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, local politicians, Pillow Board members, and other community leaders spoke passionately about what the stage and its free performances meant to them, and the urgent need to rebuild it. Audience members responded generously with donations on the spot and via mail, by phone, and online.
The funds raised during the Save the Inside/Out Stage initiative complete a $1.1 million fundraising effort to improve selected amenities and facilities at the Pillow. The reconstruction of the Inside/Out stage is part of a $400,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund matching grant.