May 4, 2020
Hello Town Theatre members and ticket purchasers!
First – THANK YOU. Thanks for hanging in there with us as we continue to navigate the unknown. Of course, we have more questions than answers it seems, but we have been fortunate in so many ways. I wanted to update you on a few things with the information that I have available to me.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5, is Midlands Gives. This is a community-wide day of giving. We know that everyone is in a different place right now, but we think it is important to seek support for the theatre from those who are able. We will host our “$20 for Town” campaign again inviting you to make a $20 gift through the Midlands Gives platform. Click here to make your gift. We received word on Friday that that we will receive a match of up to $3,000 from The Cheerful Giver – an anonymous donor. We feel so fortunate! (And if you so inclined and able to make a gift larger than $20, of course we would appreciate that too!)
Please know that this ask does not come without understanding of what a rough time this is for everyone. We sincerely want to find the balance between the tough situations that everyone is facing and making sure we can open the doors at 1012 Sumter Street after the pandemic is behind us. If this is not the right time for you to receive this request, no pressure at all. We simply present it as an opportunity.
The “State” of Town Theatre
So far, Town Theatre is hanging in there! The quarantine has created job loss and a great deal of financial instability for so many. Our heart aches for everyone who has faced a loss of any magnitude. Town went from a time of incredibly strong ticket sales in an amazing season of shows to an immediate halt. The theatre was fortunate to receive a PPP loan which is allowing us to retain our staff and not face layoffs at the moment.
Our job duties and descriptions have altered just a bit, but everyone is working as best they can. We are grateful for the time to tackle some of those “to do” list items that never seem to get done. We are hopeful that our Midlands Gives event will be fruitful and that we will be able to generate some revenue from virtual camps. We’re counting on the return of our shows and in-person camp activities.
But we have no crystal ball, so we are moving forward with great care and caution – doing our best to make decisions on a rolling basis. We continue to communicate with theatres and arts organizations locally and across the country to understand their best practices upon a return to the theatre. We constantly seek and apply for any relief funds that might be available to non-profits. We gently fundraise because we want to find the balance between the tough situations that everyone is facing and our own goal to stay in business.
It is still our intention to complete our 101st season including our run of Mary Poppins and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. We must have details on what we can do, when we can do it as well as guidance on appropriate social distancing before any of those decisions can be set in stone. When they are – we promise to share our plans with you. As a reminder, if you had already made reservations for Mary Poppins, you will have the first opportunity to re-reserve your tickets for our new slate of performance dates. Once an appropriate amount of time has passed, we will open ticketing for others. We continue to appreciate your patience as we wait until that time to communicate about ticketing.
We are continuing our virtual youth theatre classes through May. In another month we believe we will have more information about how we can continue to serve our 150 students. Just like with the 101st main stage shows, it is still our intention to allow the students to perform when possible. We know that it won’t be exactly the same as we originally planned, but we will deal with that when details are provided from our state and local officials.
Next week, we will outline summer camps for the first few weeks in June. These will be planned as virtual offerings with small groups of students. Classes will be held via Zoom and will vary in topic. This is a first for us and we welcome the opportunity to deliver arts education in a new way. If we need to continue to roll out virtual camps for a longer time frame, we will do so.
We appreciate your support as we all make this journey together.
Shannon Willis Scruggs