Zach Theatre

For birthday 75, 2 (million) to grow on

This weekend, Zach Theatre will be commemorating its 75th year with a gala performance and party, but the venerable Austin arts organization will have more than longevity to celebrate. A pair of new million-dollar donations have arrived to support the theatre's expansion of its current facilities. For about 10 years, Zach has been dreaming of a new 500-seat theatre on the open land at the corner of South Lamar and Riverside. That dream has been pegged at a cost of $20 million, plus another $5 million for an endowment and operating reserves. Zach has almost $2 million left from a 1985 city bond election, and in the 2006 bond election, voters approved $10 million for the project. Now the gift from James Armstrong – a 2007 inductee into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame for his charitable support of Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin, among other groups – puts that theatre a million closer to reality. And when it opens, you'll get to sit in the Armstrong Family Auditorium. Concurrent with those plans, Zach wants to remake its administrative building on Toomey Road (the one that houses the Whisenhunt Arena Stage) into the base for its education programs (which serve more than 50,000 young people in Central Texas every year). Bill Dickson, whose philanthropic support has benefited organizations from A (AIDS Services of Austin) to Z (Zach Theatre, naturally), is contributing his million toward that transformation. That facility will be named the Binning-Dickson Education Center. Two gifts worthy of a diamond anniversary.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Zach Theatre, James Armstrong, Bill Dickson

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