FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training receives grant for theater renovations

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is the recipient of a $22,250 grant from the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation, which will provide funding to fully repaint the Conservatory’s Jane B. Cook Theatre’s interior and refurbish the stage’s proscenium arch.

The grant completes the final 30 percent of fundraising needed for the $70,000 project, which includes renovations to the stage floor and upgrades for the theatre’s lighting and sound equipment.

Hailed as one of the nation’s top 10 actor training programs and more recently as one of the top 25 in the English-speaking world, the Conservatory is a prestigious three-year graduate program through Florida State University, located in Sarasota, Fla. Each year, 12 students are selected from a pool of 1,500 people to participate in the program.

Rigorous training covers everything from stage movement to stage combat. During their second year, the students perform a four-play season of classical and contemporary works, and in their final year they join the professional acting company of the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Graduates of the program have appeared on and off Broadway, in regional theaters and feature films and on television.

"The Cook Theatre is central to our training," said Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. "Upgrading it to modern standards and repairing damage resulting from constant use allows us to attend to the safety of our performers, enhance the audience experience, and keep up with the modern advances that are constantly occurring in technical theatre equipment."

The Cook is an intimate 161-seat theater and the primary stage used for the four-show Conservatory season. Renovations are scheduled to take place in August 2015, and the space will be ready for the Conservatory’s 2015-16 season.

For more information about the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and its 2014-15 season, visit www.asolorep.org.