Launches Expansion Plans
Text and Images Courtesy of The Phoenix Theatre Company

The Final Phase of The Phoenix Theatre Company’s
Capital Campaign Plans to Expand Local Opportunities
and Build National Exposure for Phoenix.

Above, left to right: Executive Director Vincent VanVleet and Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard. Photo taken at The Ellis Island Medal of Honors Award Ceremony in New York City, May 2018.

The Phoenix Theatre Company (TPTC) has launched the final phase of its Centennial Capital Campaign in support of construction of a state-of-the-art, 500-seat theatre along with the creation of an arts innovation and training wing to support its community service programs. The Company has raised nearly $17 million of the $20 million goal. 

The Company will expand its current 250-seat Hormel Theatre to 500 seats. Technical improvements will include a full fly loft, below-stage traps and a stage large enough to accommodate pre-Broadway show development. 

“We have a strong reputation for excellence among national producers and playwrights, and we field multiple serious inquiries from Broadway producers every season about our capacity to bring pre-Broadway development investment to Arizona,” said the Company’s Executive Director Vincent VanVleet. “This project will make us more competitive in attracting these development projects, which has the potential to bring millions into the local economy. We recently had to turn down two Broadway producers because our Mainstage and Hormel Theatres currently lack important technical capabilities, which we estimate has cost the community more than $1 million in potential economic impact.” 

Above: Architect’s rendering of the new Hormel Theatre as seen from the stage.

The Centennial Capital Campaign will also fund improvements to the Company’s Hardes Theatre complex, which will provide much-needed rehearsal and training space for its signature programs dedicated to healing and educating through the arts, including Partners That Heal and its inclusive Summer Theatre Camp offerings. 

“We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings as the Phoenix Players more than 100 years ago, operating out of a carriage house in what is now our outdoor courtyard,” said the Company’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard. “Our vision for the last 20 years has been to grow The Phoenix Theatre Company into a regional powerhouse and elevate Arizona to national cultural prominence. I’m very proud of the legacy we’re building for the arts in this community and excited about the benefits it will bring.” 

Above: Rendering of the stage door entrance of the new Hormel Theatre, as seen from the corner of Alvarado and McDowell Roads.

The Company, founded in Phoenix in 1920, has an annual operating budget of more than $12 million. Unlike many of the performing arts centers around the Phoenix-metro area that present out-of-state performances, the Company produces shows from start to finish, employing the region’s finest artisans and tradespeople who design and construct everything that appears on its stages in the Company’s own scenic, costume and properties shops. These tradespeople, the performing artists, administration, front-of-house and additional staff members account for more than 350 individuals employed by the Company each year. 

“We aspire to move substantially forward with the help and support of our friends, our passionate friends, who want to give something back to the community and see the theatre grow in Phoenix,” said Tom Simplot, past board chair for the Company. 

The Company offers a variety of ways to support the campaign, from individual gifts to bequests and naming opportunities. To learn more about the Company’s Centennial Capital Campaign, visit