The Polly Klaas Community Theater is a project of the Polly Klaas Foundation, and was made possible through a partnership with the City of Petaluma. On September 14th, 2020, the Petaluma City Council Unanimously Passed an Ordinance which will allow the transfer of the theater from the City to the Foundation, once we have raised a combined $600,000 of cash and in-kind support. We are so close to our goal to begin construction, and hope you will celebrate with us by making a donation towards the $600,000 finish line to begin construction!!!
The fundraising goal for construction / renovation has 3 stages:
$600,000 to begin construction
$200,000 to complete construction
$100,000 for lights, sound and curtains
Today there are youth-based groups in need of a space to perform – We have a beautiful little theater bearing Polly's name, waiting to be filled with children who are eager to learn, practice, play and perform. The time has come to finally, and properly, honor Polly's love for the performing arts by renovating the theater, and providing a safe place for local youth to immerse themselves in the magic of the theater. Please join us in stepping out of the darkness, and into the light, by making a donation today!
Giving Levels with Name Recognition
Supporter: $250 - $499
Cast and Crew: $500 - $999
Patron: $1,000 - $2,499
Benefactor: $2,500 - $4,999
Playwright: $5,000 - $9,999
Director*: $10,000 - $14,999
The Director’s Club was established in September 2020 and is limited to the first 12 donors who contribute $10,000. The “Director’s Club Members” will be recognized in the lobby/concession area.
Writer* (Naming Opportunities Available/Walk of Fame Star): $15,000 - $25,000
Associate Producer* (Naming Opportunities Available/Walk of Fame Star): $25,000 - $49,999
Producer* (Naming Opportunities Available/Walk of Fame Star): $50,000 - $99,000
Executive Producer* (Naming Opportunities Available/Walk of Fame Star): $100,000 - $250,000
All Donors from listed categories will be acknowledged for each level of giving on a plaque within the theater once the renovation is complete. The higher the giving level, the larger your name will appear. Donors who request to remain anonymous will have their wish honored.
If you would like to send your donation through the US Postal Service, please make checks out to Polly Klaas Community Theater and mail to:
Polly Klaas Community Theater
PO Box 2009
Petaluma, CA 94953
*For Gifts of $10,000 and Higher, please contact Executive Director, Raine Howe for Naming Opportunities.
707-769-1334 or [email redacted].
In 1993, twelve-year-old Polly Klaas, who loved to dance and sing on stage, was abducted by a stranger from her home in Petaluma. It was a crime that shocked the community, and the Nation. In the years to follow, the Nation moved on, while the citizens of Petaluma and neighboring communities, were left with an anguish that had swallowed their hearts whole.
One year after her abduction; to honor Polly’s life and her love for the performing arts, the City of Petaluma, and its citizens, dedicated a 100-seat theater to her. This was an admirable dedication and a symbol of remembering Polly for how she lived, instead of for how she was taken from us.
The little theater had been built in 1911, originally as a church, and featured the names of its founders within the incredible stained glass which surrounds its walls. These family names were not only parishioners, but also pioneers who established the City of Petaluma. This beautiful theater now linked the past with the present: Petaluma’s founder’s names on the inside - and Polly’s name on the outside.
Sadly, the building fell into disrepair. Deemed unsafe and in need of major renovations, in 2000 it was closed. For the last 18 years, the little theater, dedicated to Polly, has been deteriorating, sitting vacant and waiting for a revival. Petaluma’s residents pass by the boarded-up theater, bearing Polly’s name, and instead of it representing a commemoration of Polly’s life; the building has become a reminder of an unspeakable tragedy, adding to our community’s anguish. But it doesn’t have to remain that way.
We, as a community, have a unique opportunity, and responsibility to change the darkness of the past, to a symbol of light for the future. The Polly Klaas Foundation has been called upon to champion this little theater, and we are stepping up to meet that calling. We believe the time has come to finally honor Polly through renovating the theater, opening its doors to young performers, and for community events that enlighten and engage. A theatre space to be shared by the community, as it was intended when it was named for Polly in 1994.
The time has come to renovate the Theater and Celebrate her Life.
The renovation of the theatre is a project of our community’s lifetime. The new “Polly Klaas Community Theater” is our opportunity to properly honor Polly, and save a beloved space that sits within walking distance to downtown Petaluma. The rejuvenation is a rare opportunity to add cultural vitality to our city, provide a desperately needed venue for young and veteran performers and engage audience’s, eager for live musical, theatrical and educational performance experiences. Additionally, the space can be used for civic engagement and trainings on child safety, which is in alignment with the Polly Klaas Foundation’s mission.
The vacant building continues to be owned by the City of Petaluma, which does not have the resources to conduct the required renovations. The City has recognized the Polly Klaas Foundation as the best potential steward for leading a capital campaign to restore this beloved building - to honor the life of 12-year-old Polly Klaas, and those who founded the building in 1911.
Thanks to the partnership with the City of Petaluma, the Polly Klaas Foundation plans to embark on a capital campaign to raise $1.2 million to restore and renovate the building. Of the proceeds, $1,000,000 will go towards the renovation, and $200,000 will cover the first two years of operating fees while the building is populated with tenants and programming, consistent with the intended use of the building as a performing arts and civic engagement venue.
Funds raised for this project are restricted to use for the theater renovation. Once the goal of $1.2 million has been reached, the City of Petaluma will transfer ownership of the theater to the Polly Klaas Foundation, which will then work with volunteers and local contractors to oversee the renovation.
Once the renovation is complete, it will be the only performance theater in downtown Petaluma, available for youth and after-school programming, available to local and visiting artists to provide live performances for our community. This includes everything from plays, music, dance, Ted Talks, lecture series, trainings, civic engagement opportunities and more. With a priority given to young artists, we are confident the theater will be self-sustaining as there is a shortage of performance space.
The Community’s Needs
Well-established theater companies, such as Cinnabar’s Young Reparatory program, and Petaluma City Schools are already committed to becoming “anchor tenants” as they need a place to conduct these important programs for their student’s after-school programming. Petaluma School of Ballet and O’Brien Dance Studios are also within walking distance of the Theater. There are dozens of youth-oriented dance companies, music, singing and theater groups who need a place to call home where they can practice and perform.
The Time is Now
For nearly two decades, this gem of a building, prominently displaying the name of Polly Klaas on the outside, and names of local legends on the inside, has been boarded up, waiting for those who care, to revitalize the building – It is time to remember its founders, and to remember Polly Klaas in a way that Celebrates Her Life. This is a moment in history where the City of Petaluma has found an organization that cares enough to be that steward … but we cannot do it alone.
We are inviting YOU to be a partner in this venture by making a meaningful donation to Renovate the Polly Klaas Community Theater (PKCT).
Out of the darkness of a boarded-up building, and into the light of a space brimming with children, and artists eager to perform for their community.
The Polly Klaas Foundation is donating $50,000 in-kind annually by dedicating its staff to conduct the capital campaign, and then managing the facility as part of their regular duties for the Foundation. Many contractors and sub-contractors have already offered to help in any way they can. We have a large contingent of volunteers who are also eager to help – But they want to help NOW.
We ask you to join us for a project of our lifetime – Imagine being there on opening night, standing side by side with a distinguished group of individuals who bestowed this gift to the Petaluma Community and to Polly – Together we will rejoice, knowing we have finally found a way to honor Polly in the living, and in doing so will also honor those who built this jewel of a theater.
For more information, including volunteering, and naming opportunities for major donors, please contact Executive Director, Raine Howe, [email redacted] or 707-769-1334.
- Patricia Wison
- Patricia Webb
- Bruce Schumikowski
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