Robert Natti Fund

Strategic Investment Fund for Gloucester Stage

In his many roles as teacher, guidance counselor, and principal in the Gloucester school system, Robert was a man with warm wisdom that provided a positive influence on many in the Cape Ann community.

The Robert Natti Fund is intended to be a continuing resource to invest in the strategic future of Gloucester Stage and unlock the full potential of the Company’s mission across Cape Ann and the broader performing arts community.​

Robert Natti in The Gloucester Story, circa 1953

Robert’s Impact on Cape Ann

Creating a welcoming home on Blood Ledge Quarry with his wife Lee Kingman Natti, acclaimed children’s book author and Folly Cove Designer, Robert left a quarry-sized impact on the culture of Cape Ann. Besides spending a lifetime as a beloved educator, he was a rollicking storyteller and a keen actor. He took great joy in reading to enthralled school children, performing on stage, and, for one season of local Hollywood stardust, appearing in the TV series Harbormaster filmed on Cape Ann.

He loved Cape Ann, on land and on the water, and for many summers he would chug out of Lane’s Cove in his boat, Pikku Kala, “Little Fish” in Finnish (which he spoke fluently). His boat may have been little, but, as with its owner, it punched well above its weight, providing hours of joy for those who accompanied Robert.

Principal Robert Natti as Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, High School Production of Hamlet, 1972

Robert Natti in May Blossom with Dave Murray & Janet Norton, 1951

Catalyst for Strategic Growth

In many ways, Gloucester Stage is also a small fish punching well above its weight. With the pandemic in full fury, the Company brought professional plays outdoors at Windhover Performing Arts Center – transforming the historic grounds into an exceptional venue for live theater, in person. 

The response to that herculean effort has been tremendous, and it is with that creative spirit that Susanna Natti and Alan Willsky have made this $500,000 commitment to Gloucester Stage to help achieve the next phase of the organization’s growth. This gift and this fund are intended to be a catalyst for growth in the capital resources and artistic potential of Gloucester Stage. 

“We envision this Fund providing long-term resources that reflect Robert’s dedication as an educator and inspiration to generations of young people in Gloucester, as well as his love of performing.

We hope that you will join us – and honor the memory of the exceptional Robert Natti – in supporting this Fund both this year and into the future.”

Susanna Natti & Alan Willsky


Restricted Gifts to the Robert Natti Memorial Fund

Gloucester Stage operations require significant support on an annual basis from generous contributors – with income from ticket sales covering only 50% of programming costs. This fund, led by Susanna Natti and Alan Willsky, children’s book illustrator and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering (Retired) respectively, is restricted to strategic projects.

This lead gift to the Robert Natti Memorial Fund will allow Gloucester Stage to begin the planning phase on significant enhancements to artist and audience experiences.

Every contribution, no matter the size, is a meaningful investment in our physical building improvement plans, increased artistic programming in addition to the summer season, the post-graduate professional apprenticeship program, and capital projects that increase the sustainability of the organization.

Learn More about the Gloucester Stage 5 Year Strategic Plan online by clicking here.