CUTLINE: State Sen. Norby Chabert, Eli David (son of Rene’ David), Ana Wilson (daughter of Alyce Danos), Alyce Danos (daughter of Al Danos), Rene’ David (daughter of Al Danos), and (Front) Al Danos (widower of Mary M. Danos) on stage at Monster Piano after announcing that the $1.5 million fundraising goal to renovate the Mary M. Danos Theater was met.
THIBODAUX — The Nicholls Foundation has reached its $1.5 million fundraising goal to renovate the Mary M. Danos Theater at Nicholls State University.
The announcement was made Tuesday, Sept. 17 by foundation board member Al Danos and state Sen. Norby Chabert during the sixth annual Monster Piano concert, a fundraiser sponsored by the Nicholls Foundation and the Department of Music.
“I’m here to tell you that we’ve got it,” Danos said. “We have $1 million in cash and $500,000 in rock-solid pledges. You’re all a part of that.”
The theater, located inside Talbot Hall, was named in honor of Danos’ wife, Mary, after her death in 2011. Both had been longtime supporters of Nicholls.
When embarking on the campaign to renovate the theater last year, Danos said he contacted Chabert for help. Chabert, a 2001 Nicholls graduate, envisioned expanding the renovations beyond the theater. Using the $1.5 million in private donations as leverage, Chabert helped obtain another $4.4 million in state money to renovate Talbot Hall.
“I don’t often get to take on real pet projects, but as a member of the Nicholls theater troupe and a DJ at the radio station, I spent most of my time as an undergraduate in this building,” Chabert said. “This theater is one of the most heavily used facilities on campus and a major center for the arts in this region. It’s in our interest to keep up such a great state asset.”
The $5.9 million project will include a new roof for Talbot Hall, renovations to the lobby, as well as upgrades to the university’s television and radio studios.
The Mary M. Danos Theater, which opened in 1971, will gain new theater seating, lighting, sound system, curtains, flooring, walls and ceiling. The improvements will also include more accessible accommodations that comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
“For us to be able to raise this amount of money in such a short period of time, it just indicates how much the public believes in and supports this project,” said Dr. David Boudreaux, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation. “We have a very bright future on this campus.”
Nicholls officials are in the process of securing an architect for the Talbot Hall renovations, and hope to begin construction sometime next year.