[Skip to Content]

Asolo Rep Receives $225,000 Grant from the Toulmin Foundation

Posted: May 18 / 2021

The funds will support the theatre’s upcoming 2021-2022 season

(SARASOTA, FL) – Asolo Repertory Theatre has been granted $225,000 from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The funds will go toward Asolo Rep’s 2021-2022 season, which will include six mainstage productions, produced indoors. The Toulmin Foundation, which has a long history of supporting Asolo Rep, most recently provided $175,000 in operating grant funds and general assistance for COVID-19 contingencies in April 2020 and $100,000 in support of the outdoor Terrace Stage where the 2020-2021 season was performed.

“The generosity of the Toulmin Foundation makes it possible for us to reach our artistic potential and welcome audiences back into our theatre after this difficult year,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “We couldn’t have survived the pandemic without this incredible support. We know how fortunate we are.”

Asolo Rep’s goal for the 2021-2022 season is to produce a challenging and hopeful season full of joy, family, and a reclamation of American identity rooted in compassion for all. The seven production on the season will give audiences of all backgrounds inspiring stories, thrilling, world-class theatrical productions, and new ways to discuss and participate in the artistic process. Productions will follow CDC safety guidelines for audiences, artists and staff.

The 2021-2022 Asolo Rep season will open in the mainstage Mertz Theatre with Hair by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, an exuberant rock music by Galt MacDermot. With its unforgettable and Grammy® award-winning score, Hair will set the tone for the whole season with its message of hope and love for all humanity. The season will continue with three plays performer in repertory: Our Town, Thornton Wilder’s classic tale of small-town Americana; Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, about an American basketball team travelling to post-cultural revolution China for a “friendship” game; and Grand Horizons, a marriage farce by Bess Wohl.

This season also marks the long-awaited world premiere of Knoxville, a moving and innovative new musical by Frank Galati, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the creative team behind Ragtime. Based on James Agee's autobiographical Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, Knoxville is a universal coming-of-age story about family, faith, and love.

In May, Asolo Rep will present a new American play, Eureka Day, by New College alum Jonathan Spector in the Cook Theatre. This work continues Asolo Rep’s mission to welcome new audiences and give exceptional new work the opportunity to thrive.

The season will conclude with Hood, featuring music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn, a book by five-time Tony®-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane and helmed by director Mark Brokaw. This hilarious, stirring, and madcap new musical adventure rediscovers Robin Hood, the renegade crusader, and is presented in arrangement with Tom Kirdahy and Hunter Arnold.

“Virginia had a long-standing relationship with Asolo Rep and the utmost adoration for the work performed there. She had a deep commitment to the Sarasota performing arts community and would be elated to support Asolo’s return of productions,” said William Villafranco, Co-Trustee of the Toulmin Foundation.

“We can’t say enough about what this support means to us,” said Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele. “Our artists and staff have been working so hard to stay engaged with the community during COVID-19. The Toulmin Foundation’s assistance is an absolute lifeline.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asolo Rep’s truncated 2020-2021 season centered on short-run, outdoor, socially distanced productions. The shows took place on a specially constructed Terrace Stage on the front steps of the FSU Asolo Center for the Performing Arts, with audience seating on the building’s patio and rotunda. Asolo Rep was one of only a few professional Equity theatres in the country regularly performing during this time.

Asolo Rep staff and artists have also been producing robust online digital content, including streaming performances, educational videos, podcasts, and more.



Entering its 63rd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations.

Visit asolorep.org to learn more.



Named for a keen businesswoman and longtime Asolo Rep benefactor, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life and improving conditions for children and their families in selected communities across the United States. It operates primarily in three areas and, in each, looks for opportunities to assist grantees to achieve financial sustainability and integrate educational opportunities into their programs. 

Visit toulminfoundation.org to learn more.