We lose money every time we perform a weekday matinee for students. A significant amount, actually. The top price charged for The Tempest is $7.50 (of which, less than $4 really makes it back to cover payroll) and 1984‘s top price is $10.50 and there are a number of schools, like St Peter Claver Catholic School and private groups of migrant students, who we don’t charge because they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. We do this because it’s the right thing to do, for a multitude of reasons I shouldn’t have to spell out.
I can’t do it, however, on the backs of artists taking time off of daytime employment or other paying gigs. Artist wages here aren’t great even when comparatively “good” for the region. Thankfully angels have stepped up in Healthy Agile LLC as well as Yann and Susana Weymouth for The Tempest, and Hal Freedman and Willi Rudowsky for 1984) who believe enough in the importance of arts education to make a donation.
One thing struck me: wow, The Tempest sold nearly 2,000 tickets and if everyone just kicked in $1 (yes, really, just $1) as a “tip” for a good show or an “attaboy” for the program — that show’s needs would be paid for. Maybe that describes you. Maybe you know someone else who could step in and join our list of community sponsors for 1984?
We had to cancel 7 matinees for The Tempest simply because I couldn’t pay for them — I had the requests. We currently have 12 matinees scheduled for 1984, but without guaranteed sold-out shows or a few community partners, I will have to start cancelling those as well. Last year we offered nearly 600 free tickets to As You Like It, my lack of funding this year has meant we were able to offer less than a quarter that number at no cost for The Tempest. But I’ll keep trying …
— David M. Jenkins, Producing Artistic Director