top of page

Try to remember

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer's wreckage. We will welcome summer's ghost."

Henry Rollins

Hello, Huckleberry Friends!

First, we thank all of you who responded to our last newsletter in August. Many of you read the plea for funding we included as well as the link to the article in the Times. We truly appreciate all your moral and financial support. We could not do this without you! As you know, theatrical companies in our area and around the nation continue to struggle to come out of the pandemic. But have no fear. Theatre is alive and well…and WILL continue.

Speaking of continuing, we are thrilled to announce that in the spring of 2024 we will be producing GRAND HORIZONS by Bess Wohl. This show has been on our list for awhile and we look forward to sharing this story! Here is a little bit about what’s in store:

Over a quiet dinner for two, Bill and Nancy serenely decide to divorce after fifty years of marriage. While Nancy feels liberated and Bill seems unfazed, their adult sons Brian and Ben don’t exactly take it well. As the “kids” descend on the Grand Horizons senior living community to mediate, everything they thought they knew about their parents comes crashing down. Bess Wohl’s Tony-nominated comedy is a hilarious, heartbreaking commentary on marriage, family, and the wisdom that comes with age—or not. Bursting with all the joy and pathos of everyday life, Grand Horizons is theatre at its most enjoyable and familiar.

We are currently confirming dates and location, so keep an eye (and ear) out!

More good news!

Check this out!

“Email marketing platform Intuit Mailchimp has announced a pledge to support local arts organizations in the company’s home city of Atlanta. This pledge comes in response to the recent closures and financial hardships affecting the creative community, and recognizes the valuable work of these arts organizations to drive positive change, foster inclusivity, and enhance the quality of life for all Atlanta residents. Part of Mailchimp’s Give Where You Live initiative that currently supports nonprofits in five other U.S. cities, the program will grant $100,000 in unrestricted funding to 10 community arts organizations…“Creativity is central to Mailchimp’s brand and culture.” said Lain Shakespeare, senior director of corporate citizenship at Intuit Mailchimp, in a statement. “Small and medium sized arts organizations are the heartbeat of Atlanta’s creative economy. Many of these arts organizations are our customers, our partners, and the places ‌where our employees volunteer. We’re proud to help power their prosperity and help grow creative excellence in our home town.”

We just love and appreciate that their company spokesperson is named Shakespeare! We are also proud that we use MailChimp for all our correspondence. It is nice to use a product that believes the arts are important, not just in words but in actions. Maybe you, dear reader, work for a company that matches your donations to not-for-profit organizations like Honest Pint? That can increase your donation by 100% and can make a huge impact on a small organization such as ours! You can read the full article about this HERE!

Some real talk...

Theatre IS surviving. It always has, but we are very focused on what is happening with theatres across the country. Sometime it is like inside baseball. We see and read a lot of information that most people don't, so we like to pass on that information to you, our friends!

Recently, David was interviewed for an article published by Raleigh Magazine about space issues facing theatres across out region.

You can read it HERE

We also found an article last week discussing the “whys” of audience decline and subscriber or season ticket holder numbers falling, and you can read it HERE if you have a NYT account.

If you do not have a NYT account, here are some main points:

“The nonprofit theater world’s industrywide crisis, which has led to closings, layoffs and a reduction in the number of shows being staged, is being exacerbated by a steep drop in the number of people who buy theater subscriptions, in which they pay upfront to see most or all of a season’s shows. The once-lucrative subscription model had been waning for years, but it has fallen off a cliff since the pandemic struck.

It is happening across the nation. Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater had 13,566 subscribers last season, down from 19,770 before the pandemic. In Atlanta, the Alliance Theater ended last season with 3,208, down from a pre-pandemic 5,086, while Northlight Theater, in Skokie, Ill., is at about 3,200, down from 5,700…

Subscribers were long the lifeblood of many performing arts organizations — a reliable income stream, and a guarantee that many seats would be filled. The pandemic hastened their disappearance for a number of reasons, according to interviews with theater executives around the country and theatergoers who let their subscriptions lapse. Many longtime subscribers simply got out of the habit while theaters were closed. Others grew to appreciate the ease and flexibility of streamed entertainment at home. Some found the recent programming too didactic. And the slow return to offices meant fewer people were commuting into the downtown areas where regional theaters are often located…

Why do subscribers matter?

“No. 1, it reduces your cost of marketing hugely — you’re selling three or five tickets for the cost of one,” said Michael M. Kaiser, the chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. “No. 2, you get the cash up front, which helps fund the rehearsal period and the producing period. And No. 3, subscriptions give you artistic flexibility — if people are willing to buy all the shows, some subset of the total can be less familiar and more challenging, but if you don’t have subscribers, every production is sold on its own merits, and that makes taking artistic risk much more difficult.”

Programming is clearly on the mind of lapsed subscribers around the country. Even as subscriptions have fallen sharply at regional nonprofits whose mission is to develop new voices and present noncommercial work, they have remained steadier at venues that present touring Broadway shows with highly recognizable titles…

“There’s so much going on with the ‘ought-to-see-this-because-you’re-going-to-be-taught-a-lesson’ stuff, and I’m OK with that, but part of me thinks we’re going a little overboard, and I need to have some fun,” said Melissa Ortuno, 61, of Queens. She describes herself as a frequent theatergoer — she has already seen 17 shows this year — but finds herself now preferring to purchase tickets for individual shows, rather than subscriptions. “I want to take a shot, but I don’t want to be dictated to. And this way I can buy what I want.”

But there are other reasons subscribers have stepped away, including age. “We’re all old, that’s the problem,” said Happy Shipley, 77, of Erwinna, Pa., who decided to renew her subscription at the Bucks County Playhouse, but sees others making a different choice. “Many of them don’t stay up late anymore; they’re anxious about parking, walking, crime, public transportation, increased need of restrooms, you name it.”…

Rena Tobey, a 64-year-old New Yorker, had at least 12 theater subscriptions before the pandemic, and now has none, citing an ongoing concern about catching Covid in crowds, a new appreciation for television and streaming, and a sense that theaters are programming shows for people other than her. “For many years, I’ve pushed my boundaries, and I’m just at a point where I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Wow. These comments are powerful in that it reinforces for us some beliefs we have held all along such as venue location matters, we compete with pajamas and streaming platforms, fear of catching Covid is real, and that subscription ticket sales are a fluid element to producing entities and are not always reliable.

Season subscriptions have always been a mainstay in American theatre and are needed to balance the budget. But what happens when they are no longer a dependable source of income, the landscape of ticket sales and theatergoers changes, and new paradigms must be adopted?

Who makes up the difference in income when theatre organizations pretty much exist season to season and are all on the brink of financial disaster on any given year?

Private donors. Yes, public grants help immensely, but they, too, cannot be counted on for consistency. Most cannot sustain an organization long term, as they are doled out for specific projects not long term unrestricted administrative support. And organizations must reapply each year for them. A short term solution for a long term problem.

The good news is, some philanthropic corporate leaders get it. They understand how arts organizations enhance the quality of life in any city and that the people who work for them and use their products are actually in partnership with them. It is their responsibility to give back to the communities that they profit from.

As always, how you can help!

If all of our patrons and friends donated to our year end planning, we would be able to:

  • Pay all of our artists

  • Pay $3000 rental fees for our venues

  • Pay the $1,200 - $1500 licensing fees per show

  • Purchase set materials

  • Purchase set design elements such as furniture and props

  • Rent lighting equipment

  • Hire a photographer and graphic designer for marketing

  • Pay to advertise in various media outlets

  • Pay the rent for our storage unit

  • Cover the costs of ticketing system fees

We are so excited about our future and with your help we can make that a reality! No donation is too small (or too large).

Don't be afraid to DIG DEEP! We promise we will be good stewards of every dollar we receive and use it to create theatre for thirsty minds!

You can make a donation via PayPal here.

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page