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Citizens Bank New Hampshire and The Palace Theatre celebrate 10-year partnership to support the performing arts

Manchester, N.H.   (July 29, 2009) - Citizens Bank has announced a renewed commitment to its comprehensive cultural partnership with The Palace Theatre in Manchester with an additional $150,000 in contributions over the next three years. Since 2000, Citizens has donated more than $450,000 to the theatre creating and supporting the Citizens Bank Performing Arts Series.

“Citizens Bank is so pleased to honor and celebrate our partnership with the Palace Theatre, to support its mission to enrich the region’s cultural life and heritage, and to help steward the Palace on its exciting journey,” said Cathy Schmidt, President of Citizens Bank,  New Hampshire.  “A decade ago, the bank recognized the gem that this theatre was and the incredible value it represented to the community. Today, we continue our commitment and continue to witness the spectacular achievements of this community resource for the arts.  We believe the Palace Theatre will continue to serve as a catalyst for continued economic development in the downtown area. We are honored to be a part of it, as a corporate partner, as a neighbor, and as fans.”

A little more than a decade ago, the Palace Theatre, one of New Hampshire’s most historic and acclaimed performing arts centers, had fallen on hard times.  The organization providing programs at the time, the New Hampshire Performing Arts, had suddenly ended its performances, closing the doors on the theatre.  However, the Palace Theatre Trust which owned the building and was headed up by former Mayor Sylvio Dupuis, took action, reformed its board, reached out to the business community for support, and began to plan for the theater’s rebirth.

 “Citizens Bank’s initial commitment 10 years ago to preserve The Palace Theatre as a shining star of the arts community in our state and its continuous support since then have created an extraordinary partnership. At the time, the partnership was the largest and most comprehensive ever announced by the Palace Theatre. We honestly wouldn’t be here today without Citizens Bank’s support,” said Peter E. Ramsey, executive director of The Palace.  “Thanks to the vision and financial dedication of the entire Citizens Bank’s team, we’ve developed our successful and popular Citizens Bank Performing Arts Series, which has enabled us to bring award-winning performances to our stage for the entire community to enjoy. This partnership not only ensures the long-term financial stability of the Palace, but it also vastly extends our ability to promote the performing and cultural arts in New Hampshire.”

Citizens Bank’s sponsorship includes direct funding by Citizens Bank to the Palace Theatre, as well as in-kind and support services. Citizens Bank’s sponsorship of the Performing Arts Series includes all of the Professional productions; the events that are produced entirely by Palace staff and are the theatre’s signature events. The shows in the Citizens Bank Performing Arts Series scheduled for the 2009-2010 season include Forever Plaid, CATS, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Noises Off, Swing Fever, RENT, and The Full Monty.

“It’s a fine day in Manchester New Hampshire as Citizens Bank and the Palace continue to work together on a long-term commitment to the economic strength and stability of this unique theatre,” said Dr. Sylvio Dupuis, ex-officio member of the board of the Palace Theatre, former mayor and the president of the original Palace Theatre Trust. “It is another excellent example of how investing in your community and the arts can lead to renewed economic and cultural vitality, and even greater access to the arts for more people in Manchester and beyond.” Dupuis and attorney and theatre activist John McLane Jr. worked  to win a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that saved the Palace Theatre from demolition in the early 1970s.

As part of the sponsorship package, Citizens Bank will donate $50,000 a year to the Palace Theatre for the next three years. Among other sponsorship benefits, the Palace Theatre will provide complimentary tickets for performances of the Performing Art Series for donation to community groups selected by Citizens Bank, Citizens Bank customers purchasing Performing Arts Series tickets with their Citizens Bank Debit Cards will be given a minimum 10 percent discount, and Citizens Bank employees will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for all events at a 10 percent discount.

“As a major cultural institution, the Palace Theatre significantly contributes to the total economic impact of all New Hampshire’s cultural organizations, estimated to be more than $10 million each year,” added Ramsey. “We are so grateful and humbled by the generous and ongoing support we receive from Citizens Bank. As we look ahead, our future continues to be extraordinarily bright.”
 
The 865-seat Palace Theatre was constructed in 1915 and, at the time, was one of 22 performing arts venues in the Queen City. Today it is the only remaining live historic theatre in Manchester and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
 
The Palace Theatre hosts more than 240 production nights annually, attracting more than 150,000 patrons last year alone.  It has a 22-member board of trustees and serves as a not-for-profit cultural and educational institution. The Palace Theatre is home to the NH Philharmonic, NH, Southern NH Ballet Company, Manchester Jazz & Blues Festival, NH Theatre Awards, and more.

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 76 branches and 156 ATMs in New Hampshire.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $167 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).

About The Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is a nonprofit performing arts center that hosts its own professional company, youth and teen program and presenting acts. It is committed to achieving its mission through preserving the historic facilities of the theatre, responding creatively to the cultural and entertainment needs of the community and governing in a fiscally responsible and strategic manner. The Palace Theatre’s Web site is www.palacetheatre.org.