On Friday morning, June 25, US Senator Richard Blumenthal met with board and staff members of Stamford’s Curtain Call, the nonprofit theatre company in residence at Sterling Farms.
He was on hand to congratulate the organization for receiving a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) from the federal government.
“This grant program which I cosponsored was a truly collaborative and totally bipartisan bill and I’m so happy that Curtain Call and so many of CT’s arts agencies will benefit from it,” Blumenthal said. Blumenthal noted that many other organizations across the state – like the Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport – will be beneficiaries of the program. Blumenthal lauded Curtain Call’s executive director, Lou Ursone, for his activism which not not only benefited Curtain Call, but organizations across the country. As originally set up, community theatres that rely on volunteer performers would have been shut out from the shuttered venue program.
Stamford Mayor David Martin, also present, thanked Blumenthal for supporting, what he called, one of “Stamford’s gems – Curtain Call.” Ursone thanked his board, staff and patrons in what he described as the most difficult time of his 21 years at Curtain Call. “With the help of our board, staff, hundreds of funders, as well as state and federal funding, we survived this crazy period, and we’re here to stay.”
Ursone also credited the State of Connecticut’s SharedWork program of the Labor Department as a major means of survival over the past 15 months.
The SVOG is a 16.25 billion dollar program administered by the US Small Business Administration and as of Friday, more than 14,000 applications to the fund had been submitted. Of those, 1,876 grants had been awarded. In addition to Curtain Call and the Cabaret in Bridgeport, other recipients in CT include the Bijou Theatre (Bridgeport), Music Theatre of CT (Norwalk) and Shakespeare on the Sound (Rowayton). Fourteen other organizations in CT have already been awarded and dozens more are expected to receive funding which can be as high as $10,000,000. A nationwide list of all who have been awarded grants as of last Monday, may be found at data.sba.gov, then search SVOG.