Two Key D.C. Theater Benefactors: the Meads and the Kogods

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In the 1970s only a dozen theater groups produced professional work in the Washington region. Today Washington can no longer be called a cultural backwater. About 70 companies, large and small, contribute to a wide variety of theater offerings. That growth couldn't have happened without Jaylee Mead and the late Gilbert Mead, and Arlene and Robert Kogod. Their major donations:

Jaylee and Gilbert Mead (1930-2007)

-- Arena Stage at Mead Center for American Theater: a complex of three theaters, offices and theater-related spaces (before renovation simply called Arena Stage)

-- Mead Theater: a 200-plus seat theater, opened in 1987 on 14th Street NW, at Studio Theatre, which specializes in contemporary plays.

-- Mead Theater Lab: space and support for experimental new work at Flashpoint on G Street NW.

-- Mead Lobby: a 4,300-square-foot space opened in 2007 at Signature Theatre, in Arlington, and named for the late Rob Mead, Gilbert's son.

Arlene and Robert Kogod

-- Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard: a 28,000-square-foot covered space, opened in 2007, between National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. (Entire complex is named Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, on F Street NW.)

-- Kogod Cradle: a 200-seat flexible space for new plays at Arena Stage.

-- Kogod Lobby: Studio Theatre's main lobby, opened in 2004.

-- Kogod House: four-apartment residences for visiting staff, opened in 2006 for Studio Theatre.

-- Arlene and Robert Kogod Center for the Arts: classroom building with 465-seat theater, opened in 1982, at Sidwell Friends School.

-- Robert & Arlene Kogod Theater: 200-seat flexible space, opened in 2001 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland.

-- The ARK Theatre: 110-seat flexible space, opened in 2006, at Signature Theatre.

(Also: Kogod School of Business: classroom building, named in 1979, at American University.) -- Jacqueline Trescott

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