Walden Theatre, Blue Apple Players Plan to Merge

Will Create Region’s Most Comprehensive Theatre Conservatory, Education Provider


Two respected non-profit arts organizations, Walden Theatre and Blue Apple Players, plan to merge their organizations before year’s end to become the region’s most comprehensive theatre conservatory and education provider for school children, their families and teachers.

The organizations’ boards on Monday adopted resolutions expressing their “intent to merge” and directed committees, staff and consultants to work through Spring and Summer 2014 on the details of the proposed merger.

“Our goal is to serve more children, more families, more teachers and more schools with the high quality of programming we’re known for,” said Michele Koch, chairwoman of the Walden Theatre board of directors, and Tanner Watkins, chairman of the Blue Apple Players board of directors. “Merger will allow us to maximize the financial, artistic and educational strengths of the two organizations to reach our goal.”

The two organizations each have financial strengths that make them a good fit, Koch and Watkins said. The merged organization will have a more diversified revenue stream and an annual budget approaching $1 million, which will help attract broader local and national financial support.

Walden Theatre is a cultural partner of the Fund for the Arts, and Blue Apple Players has received grants from the Fund to support education projects in schools and community centers.

While the merger will produce some efficiencies, the intent is to invest any financial savings in expansion of services, according to the two board chairs.

Walden Theatre and Blue Apple Players, two organizations born months apart in 1976, have been working closely together for nearly a decade – collaborating on productions, training, fund development and arts advocacy. Both organizations have talented staffs, strong board members, committed donors and supporters and long histories of quality programming.

“We share a proud history of developing generations of collaborative, empathetic, confident, and creative young people using the power of drama education,” Watkins and Koch said. “Together, we will honor that legacy by continuing to provide a strong foundation in arts education for generations of children to come.”