Associated Bank has announced a 20-year, $10 million sponsorship of Milwaukee Repertory Theater (“Milwaukee Rep”) in support of the theater’s campaign to create a visionary new theater complex attached to the Associated Bank River Center. In recognition of its leadership, Milwaukee Rep’s new theater complex will be named the Associated Bank Theater Center through 2042.
“Milwaukee Rep has been a cornerstone of Milwaukee’s cultural heritage for nearly 70 years. We couldn’t be more proud to provide this enduring commitment to their mission and to making Milwaukee a more vibrant place to live and work,” said Andy Harmening, president and CEO, Associated Bank.
Each year, Milwaukee Rep, which is housed within the Associated Bank River Center complex at 815 N. Water St., welcomes more than 300,000 guests to downtown Milwaukee for its season of theatrical performances intended to entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among audiences representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity. These performances also bring travelers to the community, stimulating local economies, and supporting businesses in downtown Milwaukee. What happens on stage is only part of the story. Through more than 100 school and community partnerships, Milwaukee Rep’s educational programs continue to help teach reading comprehension and other critical skills in the classroom.
“Theater has changed since we moved into our current home in the 1980s — and so has our community. While it has served us well for four decades, our aging and inefficient complex limits the productions we stage, the plays we develop, and the kind of educational impact we create,” said Chad Bauman, executive director of Milwaukee Rep. “With a new theater complex, Milwaukee Rep will ensure world-class theater remains in the heart of downtown Milwaukee for decades to come. Associated Bank’s support of our campaign is critical to our success, and we are proud that our new complex will be named for a company that gives so much to Milwaukee.”
After successfully navigating the challenges associated with the pandemic, the Board of Trustees of Milwaukee Rep unanimously approved plans to remain at its current location and build an entirely new, expanded complex with state-of-the-art theaters, abundant community gathering spaces, an education center to expand student programming, and modern audience amenities. Joining Associated Bank are hundreds of community leaders, corporations and foundations who have already made generous pledges. Working with Eppstein Uhen Architects, Hunzinger Construction, and Chamberlin LLC, Milwaukee Rep also completed concept designs, budgeting, and planning for construction. More information about the complex, designs and timeline will be provided by Milwaukee Rep in the coming months.
Associated Investing in Milwaukee
In addition to today’s announcement with Milwaukee Rep, Associated has recently announced several significant investments in the Milwaukee community, especially surrounding its redevelopment of its River Center complex, including:
- The title sponsorship of The Pabst Theater Group. The group’s Pabst Theater is housed within the Associated Bank River Center.
- The opening of the Center for Professional Development in partnership with ALIVE Milwaukee. The center offers a dedicated space to foster advancement toward a diverse and inclusive
- Milwaukee community, and houses and supports several leading nonprofit organizations and community initiatives geared toward supporting young people in business, the arts, professional development and educational attainment.
- A full-service branch in the River Center, opening in 2023, to service Milwaukee Rep patrons, the bank’s tenants in the River Center tower, Private Wealth clients served by the River Center and other customers in the River Center area.
Previously named the Milwaukee Center, Associated purchased the River Center complex in 2016 and has been since redeveloping the site. Last week, Associated also announced three new dining venues and a new riverfront bar that are expected to open in spring 2023. Once complete, the Associated Bank River Center will bring together the best of Milwaukee — the arts, finance, business, tourism, and dining inspiring and inspired by the City.