TheatreSquared Announces 2011 Gala for Education

Frank and Sara Sharp to Receive 2011 Arts Advocate Award
Walker Foundation to be Honored on 25th Anniversary

November 18, 2011, 6:30pm at the New Mermaids Restaurant


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—October 28, 2011TheatreSquared announced today the 2011 Gala for Education, supporting arts-in-education outreach for 5,000 students and teachers in Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta. The annual celebration, a sell-out event in 2009 and 2010, will be held in the newly relaunched Mermaids Restaurant. This year's event will feature a command cabaret performance by Chris Crawford, star of the recent T2 hit Boeing-Boeing and winner of the national 2007 Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Award. Frank and Sara Sharp will receive the 2011 Arts Advocate Award, recognizing longstanding dedication to the Northwest Arkansas cultural community, and the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation will receive a special Distinguished Regional Funder Award on the occasion of the Foundation's 25th Anniversary. The event will be held November 18, 2011, 6:30pm at Mermaids Restaurant, 2217 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville (formerly Savor). Individual tickets are $100, sponsor tickets are $250, and table sponsorships range from $800 to $5,000. Guests are invited to RSVP to TheatreSquared at (479) 445-6333 or online at

Northwest Arkansas arts patrons serving as honorary co-chairs for the 2011 Gala for Education include: Becky and Bob Alexander, Terrye and Patric Brosh, Lynn and Joel Carver, Roger Collins, Marybeth Cornwell, Sandy Edwards, Denise and Hershey Garner, Susan and Orville Hall, Ellen and Malcolm Hayward, Janet and Jimm Hendren, and Margaret and Dick Rutherford.

"TheatreSquared's outreach to Arkansas middle and high school students brings access to professional theatre to schools where the arts have long been absent," said 2011 Gala Co-Chair Lynn Carver. "But T2 goes further—through professional development for teachers, in-school residencies, and touring workshops, T2's experts also work to equip underserved and at-risk students with proven literacy tools. This is a program that truly deserves our celebration and support."

"I commend T2's focus on educational outreach programs that serve students and teachers throughout the State, engaging them in literacy and learning," said Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, in his statement congratulating TheatreSquared for its recent 2011 National Theatre Grant from the American Theatre Wing.

Frank and Sara Sharp, 2011 Arts Advocate Award recipients, have been active supporters of the Northwest Arkansas cultural community for more than forty years. Frank served on the Fayetteville City Board from 1979 to 1984 and was instrumental in the creation of the Walton Arts Center—securing funding through a dedicated local sales tax, mediating discussions between the University and City of Fayetteville, and helping to hire the WAC's first executive director. Sara served as the president of the Board for the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (NASO) from 1984 to 1986—a time during which she was actively involved in making performances a reality, from fundraising to hauling music stands in the Sharp family truck. More recently, Frank co-chaired the capital campaign to build a new 7,500-square-foot facility for KUAF, and both Frank and Sara served on the Board of Advisors to relaunch NASO in 2011 as the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA).

The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, recipient of the special Distinguished Regional Funder Award, marks its 25th Anniversary in 2011.
Willard and Pat Walker created the Foundation in 1986 to provide support to non-profit organizations that promote healthcare, education, and humanitarian causes. With the legacy of Willard and Pat setting the standard for giving, the Foundation has since touched the lives of thousands of Arkansans, and continues to make grants which enable organizations to afford programming and education to enrich lives and allow individuals to reach their full potential. Selected arts- and education-focused organizations that have benefited from the Foundation's support include Arts Center of the Ozarks, Arts Live Theatre, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center, the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, TheatreSquared, the Walton Arts Center, and the University of Arkansas.

Chris Crawford, featured entertainer at the 2011 Gala, most recently appeared as Robert in TheatreSquared’s hit comedy Boeing-Boeing. He is the 2007 National Winner of the Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Award for Acting as well as the Mark Twain Award for Outstanding Comedic Performance. He serves as the Producing Artistic Director of The Playhouse Theatre in Tulsa. Selected regional credits include: Edward II in Edward II (Shakespeare Theatre Company—Washington, DC); Moonlight and Magnolias, Shining City, Macbeth, I Love You Because (Playhouse Tulsa); and many others. He is a graduate of the MFA Acting program at the University of Arkansas.

Tickets and tables for the 2011 Gala for Education can be reserved by calling (479) 445-6333 or visiting Individual tickets are $100, sponsor tickets are $250, and table sponsor levels range from $800 to $5,000. Guests may also take part in the 2011 Sparkling Wine Raffle, awarding one lucky winner a $1,500 gift certificate to Romance Diamond Co., a collection of exceptional wines selected by Bordinos Restaurant, and a private wine tasting for eight guests at The Wine Cellar

TheatreSquared’s education programs serve 5,000 students and teachers each year. Outreach initiatives include: the T2 Professional Development Institute for Arkansas educators, offered in partnership with the University of Arkansas Brown Chair of English Literacy; the Word/Play literacy intervention program, engaging at-risk students in NWA and the Arkansas Delta through in-school residencies and curriculum integration; deeply discounted performances, artist talkbacks, and workshops at the theatre; and an annual tour to bring live educational performances to communities where students lack access to professional theatre.

is Northwest Arkansas’s regional theatre, producing professional work that is challenging and heartfelt, intimate and entertaining.  More than 10,000 patrons attend the theatre’s 95 annual performances in the 180-seat Studio Theatre at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios.  In addition to its theatrical season, the theatre’s educational outreach programs serve 5,000 students and teachers throughout the region. For tickets and more information, visit


Major funding for TheatreSquared Season 6 is provided by the Walton Family Foundation, Inc. and by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support for TheatreSquared's educational outreach programs is provided by the Happy Hollow Fund at Fayetteville Area Community Foundation, the Nadine L. Baum Charitable Foundation, and Land O'Frost, Inc.

Media partners for the 2011 Gala for Education include NWA Media, CitiScapes, KUAF, and Mailco USA.
Martin Miller