The Coronavirus (COVID-19) represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us. Across our region, arts venues are struggling, and we’re no exception. In a matter of days, almost the entire industry has shuttered and thousands are out of work. It’s bad all over, and we’re looking to make sure that when this is all over, we’re ready and able to continue our mission.
With a rapidly changing landscape we are experiencing a degree of uncertainty that makes it difficult to plan more than a few weeks, even days, in advance. We’re in a fortunate position of being a producing house, meaning we determine our own schedule and can adapt and react faster than other venues that have to hire shows. However, with limited guidance from the state and vague, often conflicting advice, we’re very close to reaching our limits.
What we do know: the public health situation will be financially damaging, it will be bad, and we cannot count on rapid relief.
We’ve done everything we can to insulate our operations and safeguard our future and our future, but we are an organization with no substantial cash reserves, limited credit, and margins that grow thinner with each passing day of the crisis. At the emergence of COVID-19 as a domestic threat, we immediately took a 50% to 80% hit on ticket sales, a majority of our revenue. Insurance does not cover this kind of loss (for us or anybody), and relief from other sources may take months. The one clear thing is we will need substantial support through unearned income to offset the loss in the short term.
Our response has been proportionate to the threat and exceeds guidelines from public health organizations, but this thing is bigger than us. In order to remain viable we are asking for donations to build an immediate emergency cash reserve while we react and explore other options. There are possible avenues through the emergency SBA loans made available as soon as our governor makes them so, but they are still at least a month and a half off.
There is quite literally no work for the folk we might put out of work with a closure. The theatre industry as we knew it doesn’t exist anymore and won’t for some time. Our operation also supports dozens of jobs in the hospitality industry that rely on the audiences we bring in. If we have a substantial shutdown or closure, the results will ripple across the community in a profound and ugly way.
We are asking for your financial support to limit the damage while other options emerge. If you can give anything at all, it will help us safeguard our continued operation, if allowed, or our re-opening at the earliest possible opportunity with a minimal amount of disruption if we’re forced to close.
Whatever you can give will help. Thank you for supporting us through these hard days.