Festival Ballet Providence receives $100K to resume performances outdoors


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Festival Ballet Providence (FBP) recently received a $100,000 grant from Gov. Gina Raimondo’s “Take it Outside” initiative, which will be used to fund the construction of an outdoor concert venue.

The 32-foot wide outdoor concert stage will include socially-distanced seating and outdoor heating elements for the comfort of both the performers and audiences.

“Everyone involved in putting on our production is out of work,” FBP Executive Director Kathleen Breen Combes said. “They’ve had nothing to do and some of them have been doing other things, but this is an opportunity to provide them, to go back to work doing what they love, doing their jobs, and what they’re best at.”

FBP will use the venue as a space to present its holiday performance of The Nutcracker during a three-week period in December, which has been an annual tradition in Providence for more than 40 years.

“We were trying to think creatively, but something of this scale, we could never have imagined doing without the support of the state and the funds from commerce,” FBT Marketing Director Dylan Giles said.

The stage and seating will be set up in their parking lot on Hope Street.

The grant will also allow FBP to purchase a modular sprung floor system, which will allow them to continue using the grant for future programming such as outdoor classes and performances in the spring and summer, in-school presentations and site-specific dance experiences.

Combes said the stage will also be available to other local arts organizations when it’s not in use.

“In providing this performing space, the state is allowing us to bring back some of the holiday traditions and magic that our community knows and loves.” Combes said. “With
indoor theaters across our state dark, I’m delighted that this performance space will illuminate
and inspire audiences and artists in this unique period for our entire community.”

Information on ticket sales has not yet been released.

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