Home > Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Completes $21.2 Million Campaign

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to announce the completion of its nearly 10-year, $21.2 million campaign to expand its Strip District campus and build long-term funding for artistic priorities, student scholarships and educational programs.

PBT will honor major campaign donors at a May 3, event hosted by the Benter Foundation at its new office in the Benedum Trees Building prior to the company’s dress rehearsal of “UPMC Presents West Side Story Suite + In the Night + Fancy Free” on stage May 4-6, at the Benedum Center.

The $21.2 million Campaign for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre started in 2009 with a $1.25 million investment from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to launch a multi-phase campus expansion project. In 2015, PBT publicly announced additional campaign priorities to build endowment and innovation funding for key artistic and educational priorities.

Campaign leadership came from Campaign Co-chairs Carolyn and Bill Byham and Dawn and Chris Fleischner. And of the total $22.2 million raised, 22 percent was contributed by members of PBT’s Board of Trustees.

Since 2009, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has invested a total of $3.25 million through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program toward PBT's new Byham Center for Dance and other campus expansion projects.

Leading corporate contributors include Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and PNC Bank, which invested in student scholarships, as well as Giant Eagle, MSA - The Safety Company and UPMC which invested in innovation funding for artistic priorities.

“The people and organizations who have rallied around this campaign have galvanized our mission and made a visible impact on PBT today and for the long-term,” said PBT Executive Director Harris Ferris. “Already they have brought new productions to the stage, funded scholarships programs for aspiring dancers, invested in live music, opened new community class opportunities for the public and made it possible for us to include more students than ever in our internationally recognized training program. Most importantly of all, these supporters have made these things sustainable for the future.”

Among the campaign’s most high-profile achievements are the construction of the 14,000-square-foot, $6.5 million Byham Center for Dance, which opened its doors in September 2016, and the 2010 opening of Byham House, PBT School’s student residence for full-time high school students.

The campaign also will leave other equally enduring legacies to the art PBT stages, the audiences who experience it and the students the company trains. Other campaign impacts to date include:

  • The acquisition of five new productions - “Giselle,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Swan Lake” and “Alice in Wonderland” - for PBT’s permanent repertory. Already this year companies, including Joffrey Ballet and Nevada Ballet, have rented and staged these productions in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Worth, Las Vegas and San Diego, providing PBT with sustaining rental revenue

  • A new line of Community Division dance and fitness classes for members of the public and increased enrollment in PBT School thanks to the new Byham Center for Dance

  • The upcoming PBT premieres of Jerome Robbins' "West Side Story Suite," "In The Night" and "Fancy Free" presented by UPMC in honor of centennial celebrations for Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein

  • The creation of new endowed PBT School scholarship funds established by PNC, Highmark and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation

  • An endowed Community Youth Scholarship fund established by the Ladies Hospital Aid Society to provide annual need-based scholarships to talented students between the ages of 5 and 8

  • An endowment gift from Richard E. Rauh to permanently fund a principal dancer position

  • PBT’s March 2017 collaboration with Dance Theatre of Harlem funded by BNY Mellon

  • Endowment funding to expand PBT’s Dance for Parkinson’s class series and other accessibility programs


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