On Wednesday, October 5th, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation will open the doors to its new screening room and educational space in New York City, named in honor of the late Robin Williams. The debut of the space –the Robin Williams Center for Actors, Broadcasters and Recording Artists – will be marked by a celebration of Williams’ work, featuring a Conversation with Robin Williams that took place at the Foundation in Los Angeles in 2003. Following the screening, a panel of friends and colleagues including Hank Azaria (The Birdcage), Billy Crystal (Comic Relief, Father’s Day), Whoopi Goldberg (Comic Relief), Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji) and writer / director Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam) will discuss collaborating with this genius of stage and film and share how Robin’s artistry contributed to a legacy that will enlighten and continue to educate future performers.
“The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a national organization and we’ve been serving union performers all over the country with our free programs and resources for more than 30 years. However, with the opening of the incredible Robin Williams Center, we now have two permanent and state-of-the-art homes for actors, broadcasters and recording artists on both coasts,” said JoBeth Williams, president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. “The opening of this Center is truly the culmination of a dream. The other part of that dream is to be able to name our new home in honor of Robin Williams, a brilliant artist and compassionate man, who represented the very best in all of us as a performer and as a person. ”
In the days following the October 5th opening, the Foundation will present a Career Retrospective with legendary broadcaster Tom Brokaw, and will continue to add programming featuring prominent actors, broadcasters and recording artists to the Center’s program calendar. All events will be recorded and posted to the Foundation’s YouTube channel and website (sagaftra.foundation/video-gallery).
As the newest hub within SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s robust resource arsenal, the Robin Williams Center, located at 247 West 54th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway, will offer free educational programming to more than 40,000 actors, broadcasters and recording artists in the New York metro area. The Center will not only become the permanent home to the Foundation’s bedrock Conversations and The Business programs, but it will serve as an extension of the Foundation’s already existing free resources for SAG-AFTRA members –the EIF Voiceover Lab, an on-camera lab, a computer lab and classroom – housed within their New York office at 1900 Broadway.
The Robin Williams Center comes equipped with state-of-the-art video streaming technology, including 4K HD Christie Digital Cinema projection and surround sound, and fully programmable theatrical lighting, making it a premiere venue to host screening events in the city. It also boasts multi-camera live stream broadcast and recording capabilities, which will allow events to reach audiences beyond the confines of the venue’s 154 seats.
While the 25-foot-wide cinema screen serves as an impressive focal point within the 4,000-square-foot space, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s plan for the Center extends far beyond straightforward screening events. As an organization established to support artists, the Foundation is committed to using the space to expand educational and performance programs, catalyze connections between peers, colleagues and mentors, and cultivate an enriching and supportive environment in which performers can hone and enhance their skills. When the Foundation is not programming in the space, the Center will be made available for rental.
Funding for the Robin Williams Center is generated through a capital campaign, which will cover building and operations costs for the duration of the Center’s 20-year-lease. For more information on the capital campaign, donation and naming opportunities, please contact the Foundation’s Director of Grants and Gifts Jon-Michael Hice at 323-549-6430 or email@example.com.
About the SAG-AFTRA Foundation
In 2016, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation celebrates 31 years of giving back to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA, their families and communities. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides vital assistance and free educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children’s literacy programs. The Foundation, independent of SAG-AFTRA, relies solely on support from gifts, grants and sponsorships to maintain its free programs. Visit sagaftra.foundation.
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