A Letter

A Letter from the Artistic Director

David Jenkins

Artistic Director David M. Jenkins

Having just reached our 15th birthday (can you believe our first shows were in Nov. of ’98?), Jobsite Theater has become a staple of Tampa Bay’s arts and entertainment scene. We’ve scored hit after hit with critics and theatergoers, consistently ranked high in area best of lists (including four Best Play and three Best Artistic Direction nods from Creative Loafing), served tens of thousands of patrons with our programs, given voice and opportunities to new and developing artists, and provide an artistic home to some of the best talent that this area has to offer. We’ve risen from humble beginnings at Ybor’s Silver Meteor Gallery to become the resident theater company of the Straz Center, one of the largest and most prestigious performing arts centers in the country. We’ve taken two world premiere productions to New York. And, if you actually saw the minimal resources that we’ve done all of this on, I don’t think you’d believe your eyes. And we’re nowhere near done yet.

We’re still pushing towards our goals that will give us permanency in Tampa Bay. We’re continuing to look for ways to ensure financial stability and to get all of workers earn the living wage they deserve. We can’t do this alone. We can’t do it with just ticket sales, unless we were to turn our back on our belief that quality theater should be affordable and accessible for all. We need the support of our entire community – individuals and businesses – in order to realize our potential.

Every penny made from ticket sales goes to pay for often expensive royalties on the plays we work hard to bring you, rising costs for production materials, advertising to increase our audience attendance and stipends to pay our artists a fraction of what they are actually worth. We do this while offering tickets below the regional average.

We know the economy is tough right now for everyone (believe us, we know). I’ve heard from many of our supporters that when things rebound, that they would be first in line to make a gift or become a season ticket holder. We also know how easy it is to get discouraged when civic leaders predictably include the arts in their first rounds of budget cuts, despite the evidence that the arts help cities improve and grow. We’ve even recently been hit by such a cut after the grant was approved and we had budgeted for the year accordingly, putting us in a horrible bind. Do we lower our production values? Do we take it out on our artists? Of course those are not acceptable options.

While our leaders may not always see the value in the arts, one thing is clear: you do. The numbers prove it. Show after show, year after year, Bay area residents increasingly choose to support our emerging arts community. Jobsite relies exclusively on the support of you: our friends, our patrons and our sponsors.

If we could get the average number of attendees who visit Jobsite during the run of a show to donate at least $10 each, that would easily raise $15,000 or more. Those funds could be immediately applied to helping cover our rising costs, act as a security in case of hard times and be applied to supplement what we pay our artists from ticket sales. We’re blue collar kids, you’d be amazed at how far we can stretch a dollar.

You already likely attend our shows and spread the word for us. We can’t thank you enough for that. You’ve been instrumental in making us who we are. We’re hoping that you can take the next step and help us get to that next level by becoming a part of our annual campaign and – if you are not already – becoming a season ticket holder.

If you’d like to make a donation of any amount, we’d love to hear from you. There is truly no such thing as a small gift. We need every bit of support we can get in these critical times. If you’re interested in other options not listed, we can work with you. Feel free to call me at 813.476.7673 or contact us. Don’t forget, The Jobsite Theater is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization and all donations made to Jobsite are fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.

In addition to cash, Jobsite seeks sponsorships from area businesses as well as in-kind trade. We currently have season sponsors in Creative Loafing, The Gobioff Foundation, Illumination Advertising, The Refinery, The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. Jobsite is a proud member of Theater Communications Group, the league of professional American theater, as well as Theatre Tampa Bay, the association of professional theaters for our region.

We hope you can join us as part of our ever-growing family.

Yours very truly,

David M. Jenkins

Artistic Director/Chair

The Jobsite Theater

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