CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall Addresses Belleair Bluffs Rotarians
Robert Freedman, president and CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall, was the featured speaker at the regularly scheduled meeting for the Belleair Bluffs Rotary Club. Meetings are held each Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at Jorge’s Restaurant (800 Clearwater Largo Rd, Clearwater). Freedman recently celebrated his tenth anniversary with Ruth Eckerd Hall. Prior to this position, he was responsible for the management of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.
Freedman discussed plans for reopening the Capitol/Royalty Theatre at 405 Cleveland Street in Clearwater. It is known for having some of the best natural acoustics in this area of the United States. Once it is decided to go forward with the purchase of the theater, efforts will be made to search for and install a pipe organ similar to the one originally housed there. The Royalty Theatre can comfortably seat approximately 655 people. It is an ideal location for small venue performances.
Freedman also addressed the changes and renovations made to Ruth Eckerd Hall. Ruth Eckerd Hall recently completed its 25th season with 35 events planned for this summer alone. The 26th season includes upcoming performances of Legally Blonde. The Color Purple will come to Ruth Eckerd Hall in November 2009. Ruth Eckerd Hall is also responsible for booking the headline events for Clearwater Jazz Holiday and the Show Palace Dinner Theater in Hudson.
In addition, Ruth Eckerd Hall is a prime supporter of art education in the Tampa Bay area. More than 1200 adults and children take art education classes annually at the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute. This educational program includes classes provided at the Sheriff’s Youth Ranch and an Arts in Medicine program with regular visits by performers to area hospitals.
In closing, Freedman encouraged the Rotary audience to consider Ruth Eckerd Hall membership. Some of the benefits are season discounts and pre-sale ticket purchases. He also spoke of volunteer opportunities at the theater. Currently there are over 400 volunteers working at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
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