American publisher Sara Miller McCune has donated £1 million to the £7 million appeal to create an indoor theatre alongside Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside.
The £1million gift from Ms McCune was announced at Shakespeare's Globe annual chairman's dinner last night.
The charity itself has committed £1.7 million to the project, which means that £2.7 million of the £7 million appeal target has already been secured.
"We are thrilled at the generosity of Sara Miller McCune to this unique and groundbreaking project," says the Globe's new chief executive Neil Constable.
"The reconstruction of the indoor Jacobean theatre will take us another step closer to achieving Sam Wanamaker's vision for the Globe, and it is rather fitting that the fundraising campaign should begin with the enthusiastic support of another American theatre lover.
"The indoor theatre will enable the Globe to present theatre performances across 52 weeks of the year, within yet another beautiful and rarely-seen theatre space.
"I know it will also prove an invaluable arena for Globe Education programmes and further research into Shakespeare theatres. We look forward to our many national and international supporters joining us on the next stage of the Globe's remarkable journey."
Sara Miller McCune is Executive Chairman of SAGE Publications, a global academic and professional publisher based in California.
She is also President of the McCune Foundation, which funds community grants to grassroots organizations that provide opportunities for the poor and underserved in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
As a philanthropist, Sara donates more than $7 million per year to causes ranging from educational projects to the arts, homelessness and poverty.
Ms McCune is an avid theatre lover – Shakespeare in particular – and owns one of the first folios of Shakespeare's complete plays. In her home city of Santa Barbara, California, where she is recognized as Santa Barbara Entrepreneur of the Year, she has provided significant support to the restoration of the arts centre, The Granada.
It is hoped that the new 320-seat auditorium will be ready for Autumn 2013.