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About Suzanne Roberts
It is wonderfully appropriate that we name this company's new home in honor of actress, playwright, director, and philanthropist Suzanne Roberts. For more than forty years, Suzanne has devoted her energy and talent to the Philadelphia theater community.
An actress by training, Suzanne's extensive experience on the stage has served as a springboard for countless examples of meaningful public service beginning with World War II when she was called on by the U.S. Treasury and the International Red Cross to act in dramas that inspired the purchase of thousands of dollars in war bonds and the signing up of hundreds of donors to give blood. After World War II, Suzanne's career was distinguished by national appearances in plays discouraging racism and alcoholism, including Lady on the Rocks, a play on alcoholism which was performed in factories, board rooms, medical schools and AA groups, and a weekly program called Hate Inc which exposed Nazi dominated groups in the United States.
Demonstrating her artistic range, Suzanne also performed on the radio in weekly dramatizations of eminent citizens entitled Within Our Gates and of works by William Shakespeare. Her programs won numerous awards including Best Philadelphia Actress (NBC), The Philadelphia Fellowship Commission for Program Originality, and two awards from the Board of Education for a television series she created and hosted on city government for high school students. Her direction of Joseph Clark's and Richard Dilworth's radio and television campaigns for Senator and Mayor, respectively, resulted in her book, The Candidate and Television.
Suzanne spent many years using drama as therapy with children and adults. A film chronicling her work took her to Europe, Australia, and many parts of the United States, including Philadelphia's Hahnemann Hospital where she served on the faculty teaching her communication techniques to health care professionals.
Seeing a need for television programming for the over-45 population, Suzanne created the Emmy Award-winning program, Seeking Solutions with Suzanne, a public service program reaching 21 million homes which is designed to expand viewer's horizons, broaden their medical knowledge and explore volunteer opportunities.
A key focus of Suzanne's life has also been on using theater to improve the lives of young people. Through the Suzanne Roberts Cultural Development Fund, she has encouraged theater and dance companies to share their creativity with schoolchildren and young adults to expand their knowledge and interest in the arts and encourage better communication. Her concern, generosity and vision have made a sustained and dramatic contribution to Philadelphia's cultural and educational community, a distinction honored by Philadelphia Theatre Company at its 2003 Sweethearts' Brunch.
Suzanne's husband, Ralph, shares her commitment to leadership and service. Ralph and the Comcast family of companies are known nationally as key leaders in the cable industry and supporters of community, health and educational projects. A founding trustee of The Philadelphia Company, as we were once known, Ralph provided early support and visionary leadership for our fledgling company. Throughout the ensuing years, Suzanne and Ralph's remarkable generosity have made a sustained and dramatic contribution to Philadelphia Theatre Company's present and bright future.
The Suzanne Roberts Theatre is a symbol of new growth, and stands as eloquent testimony to Suzanne's artistic vision and to the vital role she has played in enabling Philadelphia Theatre Company and the community we serve to embark on a bold new future with confidence.
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