Save America’s Treasures Grant awarded to Casino Theatre
Senator Jack Reed; James Farrar, Farrar & Associates Construction; Sister Therese Antone, SRU; Martha Werenfels, lead architect.
NEWPORT, R.I. -
The Casino Theatre at the International Tennis Hall of Fame has received a $400,000 grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant program, to assist with the preservation of this historic 1880 theatre. Only 41 of these grants (from more than 400 applications) were awarded this year in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). With these funds, organizations and agencies conserve significant U.S. cultural and historic treasures, which illustrate, interpret and are associated with the great events, ideas, and individuals that contribute to our nation’s history and culture.
“I am here to thank the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Salve Regina, and the friends of the Casino Theatre who made this historic preservation possible,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NEA and NEH funding. “This theatre was awarded a Save America’s Treasures Grant because it is a living piece of history and these federal funds will help preserve it as a social and cultural center for future generations.”
"We are honored and appreciative that the Casino Theatre has been designated a recipient of a Save America's Treasures grant," said Mark L. Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. "The theatre is an architectural masterpiece and once the restoration is complete, it will be an asset to the community as both an historic site and a venue for programming and events."
The Casino Theatre is the first and only remaining theatre designed by the acclaimed architect Stanford White. The 1880 shingle-style building sits at the northeast corner of the McKim, Mead & White’s Newport Casino, home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. This unique and architecturally significant recreational complex was considered America’s first resort country club. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The theatre, unused for almost 30 years, remains structurally sound with excellent acoustics and still retains most of its handsome interior detail and paint. The restoration project includes the installation of heating, air conditioning, updated electrical systems, fire suppression, theatrical equipment, handicap facilities, and new restrooms.
To date more than $4.2 million has been raised toward the goal of $4.5 million. Construction began this past fall and will be completed by the end of the summer.
Martha Werenfels, the project architect, noted that “Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects is extremely honored to be the architect for the restoration of the historic Casino Theatre. While this important building is in remarkable condition, it is in need of a significant amount of work to preserve its original decorative features and finishes and to upgrade it to serve as a flexible performance space. The Save America’s Treasures grant will help to ensure that the building is successfully preserved and enjoyed by the community for many years to come.”
The Stanford White Casino Theatre Corporation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has leased the theatre from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Once restored, the theatre will be managed and maintained by Salve Regina University for the benefit of the community. The theatre will be used by the university’s Department of Theatre Arts, and occasionally by other institutions, during the academic year. In summer the theatre will be available for theatrical productions, as well as a variety of other programs, for Newport and its visitors.
“The Salve Regina community is proud of the significant role it played in making the revitalization of this historic theatre a reality,” remarked Sister M. Therese Antone, the university’s chancellor and president of the Stanford White Casino Theatre Corporation. “Restoring and rehabilitating this facility opens the doors to wonderful new cultural and artistic opportunities for the entire Aquidneck Island community. Salve Regina University is pleased once again to have played a leadership role in developing new partnerships in the community that benefit all who live, work and visit here.”
About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.