(FLORHAM PARK, NJ) -- In mid-October, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s (STNJ) Board of Trustees surprised Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte with a thoughtful and meaningful way to commemorate her thirty years leading the institution. The Board chose a naming opportunity to honor Ms. Monte, one that they knew would not only thrill her, but would provide a significant gift toward the institution's ongoing and crucial capital campaign. Within the Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory: The Education, Production and Administrative Center for The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an 80-foot spacious and unusual hallway, dubbed “The Boulevard of Dreams” by Ms. Monte eight years ago. It has now been renamed “The Bonnie J. Monte Boulevard of Dreams” in honor of her three decades of leadership.
The Boulevard of Dreams runs down the center of the company’s Theatre Factory, and features “shops” that provide young designers, scenic painters, and higher-end donors with the opportunity to create charming storefronts, each of which represent or “sell” something essential to the art of the theatre. Some shops lead into actual workspaces, others are trompe l’oeil paintings, and others are cleverly constructed to store and display actual prop inventory. Each individual shop also provides a naming opportunity for donors.
In a heartfelt letter to the Board, Ms. Monte wrote, “What you have done in honor of my 30th anniversary is the most perfect gift and tribute that I could imagine. You have made me a very happy Artistic Director, and so proud, honored and grateful to be here, keeping our beloved theatre and company of great artists holding the torch of our art high and burning bright. Your gift and all it represents will help keep that flame burning even brighter.”
Board President Randy Harris comments, “The current success and stature of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey were only dreams when Bonnie took the reins thirty years ago. Knowing that the Boulevard of Dreams in the Kean Theatre Factory epitomizes her visionary essence, the Board of Trustees could imagine no better tribute to Bonnie than renaming it in her honor.”
In 2011, the Theatre acquired and began renovation of an old valve factory in an effort to centralize all of the institution’s behind-the-scenes operations and to allow for an expansion of its many education programs. Located only a short distance from the Theatre’s two performance venues, The Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory is in Florham Park, NJ. Throughout the building, an ever-evolving series of art installations inspired by and utilizing relics of the company’s 58-year history greets all those who enter. It is a 50,000-square-foot work of art/workspace that doubles as an unusual, and highly effective, hands-on teaching tool for young artists. The concept and design of the building is a product of Ms. Monte’s creativity and artistry aided and implemented with the help of many company artists and designers.
The Theatre regards the very successful campaign that created The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre (located in Madison, NJ) as “Act I” in its institutional journey. Act II: The Legacy Project is the next step in The Shakespeare Theatre’s campaign intended to strengthen the institution in a variety of ways and to protect both its artistic mission and renowned educational programs well into the future. Now, more than ever, the Shakespeare Theatre relies on contributions to its annual and capital campaigns to ensure its place at the forefront of America's classic theatres.
To make a donation to the Shakespeare Theatre’s crucial capital campaign, click here. To learn more about the variety of naming opportunities still available, call the Theatre Factory directly at (973) 845-6723.