Coca’s New Theatre Named to Honor Cathy Berges

Cathy Berges, 1948-2020

When the Center for Creative Arts (COCA) in St. Louis opens its doors to their new state-of-the-arttheatre for its 2020-2021 inaugural season, it will bear the name of a lifelong theatre lover and philanthropist, Catherine B. Berges. Cathy passed away in May 2020, and the Berges Family Foundation requested to rename the Berges Family Theatre as the Catherine B. Berges Theatre, honoring her life and passion for theatre.

“Cathy was such a wonderfully witty, easy going, and generous soul, whose love and support of theatre and the arts fueled so many St. Louis organizations,” said Kelly Pollock, COCA Executive Director. “She has left a remarkable legacy for our community, and it will be an honor to create and showcase beautiful work in her namesake.”

Berges Family Philanthropy

When Cathy and Jim Berges moved to St. Louis more than 40 years ago, the couple quickly established themselves in the St. Louis philanthropic landscape. As patrons and advocates for the arts, they have shaped the St. Louis arts community through their support of numerous organizations, including COCA, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Stages St. Louis, to name a few.

In recent years, Cathy focused much of her time on the Berges Family Foundation, which supports the institutions and organizations that make St. Louis a great place to live, work, play, and invest. With a love for theatre, jazz, art, and dance, her philanthropic reach extended to over 35 St. Louis institutions.

A History with COCA

In 2017, the Berges family inspired the St. Louis community to engage with COCA through the establishment of a challenge, pledging to match up to $5 million in gifts made to the Create Our Future Campaign. The donation represented the Berges Family Foundation’s largest gift to date, and it matched the largest pledge COCA had ever received.

The Berges’ gift helps COCA provide other families the chance to enjoy theatre together and expands COCA’s capacity to produce excellent theatre and dance performances.

“We wanted to make a bold statement in support of COCA and energize the St. Louis community to join us,” said Jim Berges. “This organization has been doing vital work for our community for 30 years—using the arts to impact our schools, to create pathways of success for thousands of young people, and to grow in its role as one of the top arts organizations in the country.”

The beautiful Catherine B. Berges Theatre, which seats 450 people in two tiers, was designed to allow for great sightlines and acoustics, while maintaining an intimate and welcoming space for visitors of all ages. It will forever be a tribute to Cathy’s love of theatre and commitment to changing lives through the arts.

For more information on the new theatre or how you can help COCA and the St. Louis arts community, go to COCA’s website or the Berges Family Foundation today.