Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep has donated $1m to the Public Theater in New York. The actress made the announcement Thursday at a reception celebrating the $40 million makeover of its Astor Place venue in downtown Manhattan.
"I give this gift in honor of the founder of the Public theater, my friend and mentor Joseph Papp, and in remembrance of one of the theater's board members and greatest supporters, my friend Nora Ephron," Streep announced at the reception according to the Los Angeles Times.
Writer/director Ephron worked with the actress on the films "Silkwood" (1983), "Heartburn" (1986) and "Julie and Julia" (2009). Ephron died in June after contracting pneumonia as a result of leukemia.
"Meryl is as great a citizen as she is an actor," Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said at the event. "Joe Papp founded the Public in the belief that great theater belonged to all the people. It means an enormous amount to us that the greatest actor of our time supports that mission."
Streep has a long-standing relationship with the company having appeared in productions for them dating back to the 1970s. She has also performed at the Public's Delacorte Theater in Central Park, most recently in a one-off benefit performance of "Romeo and Juliet."
A month-long series of events has been scheduled to celebrate the rededication of the downtown venue, including a free block party and open house on Oct. 13. It was also announced last week that Anne Hathaway would perform a one-off concert featuring songs from the musical "Cabaret" on Oct. 24 to raise further funds towards the refurbishment.