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NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER RECEIVES $2 MILLION CONTRIBUTION FROM SIDNEY KIMMEL FOUNDATION TO RENOVATE SIDNEY KIMMEL THEATER, UPGRADE FREEDOM RISING

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Constitution Center has received a $2 million contribution from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation, the Center's President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen announced today. The generous donation will be used to renovate and upgrade the Sidney Kimmel Theater and the live production of Freedom Rising, the Center's multimedia presentation that has been performed for nearly 8 million visitors. In making its commitment, the Foundation set a match the Center was able to achieve promptly.

"We are deeply grateful to the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for this generous contribution," said Jeffrey Rosen. "The Sidney Kimmel Theater is home to Freedom Rising, the longest-running show in Philadelphia, and we look forward to unveiling the updated production and state-of-the art Theater in time for the Democratic National Convention. Thanks to Mr. Kimmel's generosity and vision, the Sidney Kimmel Theater will continue to inspire visitors to the National Constitution Center for generations to come."

Sidney Kimmel said, "I am delighted with the success of the Theater and Freedom Rising. To hear that nearly eight million visitors have had the opportunity to experience this unique presentation is exciting, and I believe it is important at this stage in the National Constitution Center's life to keep the space and content relevant now and in the future."

The National Constitution Center has selected Donna Lawrence Productions (DLP), the original producers of Freedom Rising, to update the production.

The renovations and technology enhancements will also allow the Center to host a greater range of events in the Theater, including its America's Town Hall public programs and debates, museum programs, and other special events.

To accommodate the renovation work, the National Constitution Center will suspend Freedom Rising performances from approximately January 19 through February 9, 2016 and April 14 through June 12, 2016.

Freedom Rising, the award-winning, 360-degree live theatrical production, is at the heart of the National Constitution Center's visitor experience. Designed to connect visitors with the story of the U.S. Constitution, Freedom Rising creates a stirring environment in which visitors see themselves as active participants in our unfolding Constitutional history.

Visitors React to Freedom Rising

I found Freedom Rising so moving I wanted to weep at the end of it. I want to encourage people to come here. – Former First Lady Laura Bush

The best 17-minute civics lesson in the country. – Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

I felt like I was actually in it. It made me feel lucky to live in the U.S.A. – Student

Freedom Rising made me cry. It showed me what people have gone through to fight for our rights and freedom. – Aniya H., 5th grade

Freedom Rising is the most important part of our visit to Philadelphia. – Middle School Teacher

About the Sidney Kimmel Foundation

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation was established in 1993 with the goal of making contributions at moments and in places of great impact and possibility. Since that time the Foundation has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research, Philadelphia institutions, medical care and research, and Jewish continuity. From the Kimmel Scholars Program to the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and of course at the National Constitution Center, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation is Connecting Promise to Progress. For more information about the Foundation, visit kimmel.org.

About the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia inspires active citizenship as the only place where people across America and around the world can come together to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. A private, nonprofit organization, the Center serves as America's leading platform for constitutional education and debate, fulfilling its Congressional charter "to disseminate information about the U.S. Constitution on a non-partisan basis." As the Museum of We the People, the Center brings the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages through interactive programs and exhibits. As America's Town Hall, the Center brings the leading conservative and liberal thought leaders together to debate the Constitution on all media platforms. As a center for Civic Education, the Center delivers the best educational programs and online resources that inspire, excite, and engage citizens about the U.S. Constitution. For more information, call 215-409-6700 or visit constitutioncenter.org.

CONTACT: Jenny Parker McCloskey, 215-409-6616 jparker@constitutioncenter.org Merissa Blum, 215-409-6645 mblum@constitutioncenter.org

Source: National Constitution Center