Film, television and Broadway Actor Richard Thomas, star of the current Manhattan Theatre Club production of Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People," has been named Honorary Chair of the National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF) as it moves forward with its National Theatre education initiative "Impact Creativity."
New Yorkers have recently seen Mr. Thomas' image on billboards and bus shelters as well as in taxicabs, both in New York and throughout the country, as part of the NCTF's "Impact Creativity" visibility campaign – the largest such campaign ever mounted. Impact Creativity is NCTF's $5 million fundraising initiative, the country's only National Theatre education fundraising initiative. In his new role as Honorary Chair, Mr. Thomas will promote Impact Creativity as well as NCTF's mission of sustaining America's finest not-for-profit theatres, through partnerships with corporate America.
"Richard Thomas is a great actor who has performed in and helped lead several of our country's great resident theatres in historic productions of the classics and groundbreaking new plays," said Bruce Whitacre, Executive Director of the National Corporate Theatre Fund. "And he is one of the country's leading proponents for arts education. We are thrilled to announce that he will be joining NCTF as honorary chair right as we delve deeper into our groundbreaking "Impact Creativity" campaign to fund theatre education throughout the country."
"NCTF is a champion of regional theatre and, for decades, it has successfully engaged the American business community into funding great theatre across the country," said Richard Thomas who will open in MTC's production of Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" on September 27th at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. "NCTF has been most recently focused on harnessing classroom creativity into productivity through its Impact Creativity arts education initiative – something I feel very passionate about and a topic that should be front and center in our nation's debate on education and the economy. I am thrilled to join as Honorary Chair at this critically important time for theatre and for arts education which has faced some of the worst cuts in years and needs our focus and attention."
"It's good news that Richard Thomas has accepted the honorary chairmanship of NCTF," said HAl Holbrook who has served as Honorary Chair since 1988. "His experience in regional theatre is a valuable ingredient for the job. I could never forget the riveting performance he gave at Hartford Stage as Hamlet. And I'm grateful to him for taking on this job in the cause of keeping the regional theatres in America growing and strong."
About Impact Creativity
Impact Creativity was launched in May 2012 with over $200,000 from accounting firm Ernst & Young and its partners. As the only national platform to support theatre arts education it seeks to narrow the widening arts education funding gap across the United States by providing direct funding to education programs at 19 prominent resident theatres serving the country's largest cities with teaching artists, playwriting, acting and student matinee programs. Citing the 2011 President's Committee on Arts and Humanities report, "Reinvesting in Arts Education" that links arts education with academic achievement, Impact Creativity and NCTF have taken the lead in bucking this trend.
In June 2012, the nation's leading taxi technology company Creative Mobile Technologies donated screen time on its media screens in 10,000 taxicabs throughout the country including 6,600 taxis in New York City reaching over 6 million people. A new round of PSA videos featuring Richard Thomas among other stars of the theatre and business world launched in August. On July 7 2012, "Impact Creativity" was featured as the "Impact of the Day" on AOL's homepage, which itself generated 13 million viewers.
In mid-August, Impact Creativity's visibility campaign expanded its reach to over 10 million impressions with a Clear Channel Outdoor donation of 17 high visibility spaces throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. Mr. Thomas as well as Ernst and Young CEO James Turley, actor Kate Burton and others sent this simple message to motorists, commuters and passersby on major thoroughfares including the Bruckner Expressway, the Long Island Expressway and the approach to the Williamsburg Bridge: "Theatre Education Changes Lives."