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Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center facts for kids

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Old Saybrook Town Hall and Theater
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in 2011
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is located in Connecticut
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
Location in Connecticut
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is located in the United States
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
Location in the United States
Location 300 Main St., Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Architect Roe, William L. Jr. ; Sweeney, James
Architectural style Colonial Revival
NRHP reference No. 07000558
Added to NRHP June 21, 2007

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, known as The Kate, is a theater in Old Saybrook, Connecticut that opened in 2009. It is the only theater in the world that is named for Katharine Hepburn, the 4-time Academy Award winning actress.

The Kate is a non-profit performing arts organization located in a historic theater/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 260-seat theater and a museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook's most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley. The Kate presents more than 250 performances and events each year, including music, theater, comedy, film, simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, and dance, as well as host arts education programs for children and youth.

The museum collection includes several portraits of Ms. Hepburn, memorabilia from her stage and screen career, items of clothing from her personal wardrobe, and other unique pieces including one of her passports. The Kate frequently entertains offers for donations to add to the collection.

The building in which the venue is housed dates from circa 1910 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 as Old Saybrook Town Hall and Theater. The property is also known as The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theatre.

The 260-seat theater had the blessing of the Hepburn Estate and the actress's family. Cynthia McFadden of ABC News, an executor of the Hepburn Estate, was an honorary capital campaign committee member. Hepburn's brother-in-law, Ellsworth Grant, was instrumental in helping the Board of Trustees honor the actress with his knowledge of Hepburn and her family. Grant was an author and former Mayor of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Former Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell said the following about the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center: "It is my pleasure to recognize that one of Connecticut's own is being honored in the naming of an historic building that will perpetuate her legacy. Katharine Hepburn contributed much in her long career in film and theater, not only to Connecticut, but throughout the world. To remember her in this manner is most fitting and I salute the efforts of all those involved."

Connecticut U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd had also recognized the theater in saying: "I commend everyone participating in this grand effort to restore the old Town Hall building in Old Saybrook to create in its place the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, I'm honored that I can lend my name in support of what will be a meaningful and inspiring tribute to our Connecticut treasure, Katharine Hepburn."

The building was designed by New London architect James Sweeney, and "is a fine example of the Colonial Revival Style." The general contractor was William L. Roe, Jr., of New London.

The Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award

The Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award is given by the Kate to an individual who embodies the spirit, independence, and character of the legendary actress. It is presented annually at the summer Gala, the Kate's largest fund raising event. The award is a graceful bronze statuette in the likeness of Ms. Hepburn by Kimberly Monson, an artist and faculty member of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

2019 - Christine Baranski

One of the entertainment industry’s most honored actresses, Christine Baranski is an Emmy, two-time Tony, Screen Actors Guild, Drama Desk and American Comedy Award winner. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Baranski received her big break in Tom Stoppard’s hit Broadway comedy “The Real Thing,” directed by Mike Nichols, for which she won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award.

Ms. Baranski went on to earn a second Tony Award for her performance in Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” She also won an Emmy, American Comedy and SAG Award for her role in the hit series “Cybill,” in addition to three subsequent Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. She received a total of 5 Emmy nominations for her guest roles on “Frasier” and “The Big Bang Theory.” As the formidable “Dian Lockhart,” Ms. Baranski received six Emmy nominations and two Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” She currently stars as the character in the critically acclaimed spin-off “The Good Fight” on CBS All Access.

As a young intern at the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, CT, Ms. Barnaski was inspired by Ms.  Hepburn’s portrayal of Rosalind in “As You Like It.”

2018 - Ann Nyberg

A resident of Madison, Ann Nyberg is WTNH-TV’s longest-serving anchor/reporter in station history and has been nominated for multiple Emmys. In addition to anchoring several evening newscasts, she also produces and hosts the show “Nyberg,” an on-air and online show she developed to get people’s stories out to the masses.

In November of 2015, Ann was inducted into the prestigious Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Boston/New England Chapter - an honor given to television professionals who have made significant contributions to their community and to the vitality of the television industry. In 2017, Ann was recognized, during the year of Harper's Bazaar Magazine's 150th anniversary, as a woman of success who pays it forward.

Ann has been a storyteller her entire life, which all started with a diary her mother gave her for Christmas when she was just 8 years old, and the rest is history. As she says, “I never met a story I didn’t want to tell.” Her first book, "Slices of Life, A Storyteller's Diary" debuted in October 2015, and is based on her diary. Her second book, released October 2016, is on the legendary Connecticut film actress, Katharine Hepburn. It is called "Remembering Katharine Hepburn: Stories of Wit and Wisdom About America's Leading Lady."

2017 - Glenn Close

Glenn Close is a seven-time Academy Awards nominee and winner of three Tony Awards and three Emmys. She made her feature film debut in The World According to Garp, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She was subsequently Oscar-nominated for The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs, and most recently, The Wife. Ms. Close won two consecutive Emmys along with a Golden Globe Award, and three SAG nominations for her portrayal of ‘Patty Hewes’ on Damages. She won a third Emmy for her title role performance in Serving in Silence: the Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (for which she also received a Peabody Award as executive producer).

In 1974, Close made her professional, theatre, and Broadway debut in The Phoenix Theatre’s Love for Love, directed by Harold Prince. Over her forty-three year career, she has always returned to the theater, receiving Tony Awards for Death and the Maiden, The Real Thing and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset Boulevard, as well as an Obie Award for The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs. Last spring, Close made her London-West End debut in a new production of Sunset Boulevard, for which she won a London Evening Standard Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award. She is presently starring, to great acclaim, in that same production, on Broadway.

Ms. Close’s decision to continue in the acting profession in part stems from viewing one of the most famous and first ever television interviews with Katharine Hepburn conducted by Dick Cavett in 1973. Ms. Hepburn became an inspiration to Ms. Close and welcomed this role, finding small ways to support Ms. Close through communications and appearances at events honoring Ms. Close.

2016 - Dick Cavett

Mr. Cavett has lead a life of insight and humor, and is arguably best known for his self-named talk show ‘The Dick Cavett Show’ and his remarkable ability for in-depth and sophisticated interviews and conversation. His television show boasts one of the most famous interviews with Katharine Hepburn, who rarely agreed to interviews.

“One of the facts of life of doing a talk show is that some of the most interesting people in the world won’t do them. One of them is Katharine Hepburn,” Mr. Cavett said at the opening of his now famous two-part interview with Ms. Hepburn in 1973 on The Dick Cavett Show. “She has spent most of her life avoiding the press and I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful just to sit and listen to that woman talk?’ Well, one afternoon recently, never having been on television, she agreed to come into my studio for a test only to check things out to see how it looked and felt. She checked the cameras, the lights, these chairs, the temperature in the studio, she pronounced the carpet ugly and then she surprised me by suddenly saying, ‘Why don’t we just go ahead and do it now?’ And we did.”

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