The season is here! 20 years, can you believe it?
We’ve invited some friends, colleagues, and ensemble members into the theater tonight to act as a warm-up audience for our 20th Anniversary Season opener, Hedwig and The Angry Inch. We’re incredibly pumped — only a few tickets remain for the first preview tomorrow and the rest of the first week is sold clean. Let’s hope this is a good omen for the new season, we could use it. If you’re joining us opening night, Aug. 17, please don’t forget to join us directly across the street right after the show at the Barrymore Hotel’s Waterworks Bar & Grill for a post-show reception with the cast and crew. The performance is only 90 minutes long, so hopefully we won’t keep you out too late!
You’ll likely see several big stories in the coming week (Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay Times, Watermark) about the launch of the new season, the milestone, and how we’re dealing with a recent bad run of luck compounded by devastating cuts to our 2018-19 funding from the state of Florida that I’m sure you’ve already heard about. Together we did a lot to help make up the $40,000 in shortfalls last season, and so of course the $35,000 cut to our 2018-19 grant might look pretty daunting after all that. I want you all to know from my lips (fingertips?) to your ears (eyes?) that I believe as a community that we are capable. The very theme for the season — ad astra per aspera — was chosen because each and every one of us at Jobsite believes.
The board and artistic associates have taken many steps to ensure forward momentum. We’ve made immediate decisions for the coming season that set us up for success, that play fully to our strengths, and that will allow us to creatively get the most out of reduced resources. We’re also evaluating every area of our operation while developing a plan to not only endure immediate strife but that will keep the company sustainable for years to come.
There are, of course, ways that you can immediately give us a hand. I hope you’ll consider these as the new season progresses.
- Invest in our future: make a donation. You might think you don’t have a lot to give, but every dollar counts for a small organization like ours and we still have over $12,000 in matching funds available for 2018 thanks to a grant from the Gobioff Foundation. Your gift helps improve the quality of life of over 15,000 people a year including 1,500 students and close to 60 regional artists.
- The ultimate vote of confidence: pick up a season ticket. A season pass is not only a great value for you, it truly helps. I can’t overstate this point enough. The more season passholders we have the more we can focus time and resources on the making of quality work instead of chasing down people to come, the better quality our work will be because we are better armed in advance with what sort of budget we’re looking at, and the more competitive we can be in terms of acquiring titles and talent to work on the shows.
- Become part of the family: offer the gift of your time. We have an ongoing need for board members, but we also need volunteers to help with things like our audience development and fundraising committees. Sometimes we need general volunteer assistance to get posters and flyers into the community or to simply base paint a set. Drop me a note if you’d like to learn more. I’d love to speak with you about these opportunities.
I consider myself lucky to have this opportunity in Tampa. It’s not only an honor but a tremendous responsibility to do this work. I believe that we offer great reckonings in our little room, and that the power of live theater is capable of amazing things. If you agree, please think about where you can help us continue to make a difference.
SAVE THE DATE: Sat., Dec. 1 we’re throwing a MASSIVE party in celebration of our 20th birthday. We’re planning all sorts of goodness from a reunion of ensemble members past and present, a photo booth, food and drink, drawings, silent auctions, and The Mother of All Variety Shows. Details are in the works but we have what we know right now available in this Facebook event invitation. Mark your calendars! Expect more details in about two weeks.
ICYMI: VOTE! We’re nominated for multiple categories including Best Director, Best Scenic Designer, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Theater Company. Take a look at our nominees and then make sure to cast your ballot!
Thanks again for all you do to help make Jobsite rock!
David M. Jenkins, PhD
Producing Artistic Director