After struggling mightily with fiscal challenges that beset Virginia's second oldest professional theatre since the economic crash of 2008, Wayside Theatre's Board of Directors today announces new plans for going forward. The plans include unprecedented hands-on efforts by the Board of Directors in the areas of marketing and fundraising, as well as a new level of transparency with Wayside Theatre supporters and the community about how those plans progress.
According to Board President Dr. Byron Brill, "During the last two months, our Board of Directors has worked hard and done quite a bit of soul searching about what we are willing to bring to the table to keep this 51-year-old cultural jewel operating. We have examined a number of business models and alternatives, but our work led us to realize that if Wayside Theatre is to continue as a professional theatre, we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and dig in to provide much needed assistance in the areas of marketing and fundraising to our small and loyal staff in order to meet the challenges necessary to continue. Already the Board of Directors has identified sources and commitments for over half of next fiscal year's fundraising requirements. We have also taken important steps such as adding a professional grant writer to our Board of Directors, and begun reaching out to businesses in our community and beyond to increase corporate sponsorship and corporate marketing. We know we will meet our goal of raising $90,000 by April 8, and combined with this new commitment from our Board of Directors we are confident that we can go forward. Today, we are proud to announce our plans for Wayside Theatre's 52nd Season and that subscriptions and tickets are now on sale."
1. Wayside Theatre's Board of Directors has identified substantial cuts for the 2013-14 budget. These cuts have reduced the amount of funds that need to be raised for the 2013/14 Season from $250,000 to $197,000. Of that $197,000 Wayside Theatre's Board of Directors has worked to secure commitments and reasonable assurances of $113,000 in grants, donations, and sponsorships towards that 2013/14 goal. The remaining $84,000 will need to be raised throughout the 2013/14 Season.
2. Wayside Theatre's Board of Directors has cultivated a number of partnerships with local organizations and individuals who have expressed interest in helping to sustain Wayside Theatre's mission as a professional theatre. Some examples of this include:
· The Winchester/Frederick County chapter of The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) approached Wayside Theatre with an offer to encourage their membership to attend Wayside Theatre as a part of their ongoing Bus Tour program. NARFE uses this program to not only provide its membership with opportunities to see professional theatre in other localities but also as a means of raising funds to support one of its causes, helping those afflicted with Alzheimer's. Wayside Theatre is now working with NARFE to schedule performances for the 2013/14 Season.
· Members of the Shenandoah Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (SRAACA) approached Wayside Theatre with an offer to host a Car Show on Wayside Theatre's behalf to raise funds and awareness. With the cooperation of the Town of Middletown, this Car Show will now be held on June 22, 2013 in the Middletown town park.
· Wayside Theatre's volunteer guild P.R.O.P.S members Tammy Batcha, Barbara Scarlett, and Stephanie Pendleton have been working with the Shenandoah Valley Runners and the Town of Middletown to set up a Run 4 Wayside Theatre. This 4-mile run will take place on September 7.
· Fully 34% of Wayside Theatre ticket buyers reside between 25 and 75 miles from the theatre location in Middletown. During this campaign, individuals from Manassas, Reston, and Loudon County have have offered assistance in creating marketing and fundraising opportunities in those areas.
3. A professional grant writer has been added to the Wayside Theatre Board of Directors. This has already led to an additional grant that the theatre has never received before.
4. Recognizing that economic concerns for customers in our market are always paramount, Wayside Theatre will not increase ticket prices for the 2013/14 Season. This will make a ticket to Wayside Theatre the least expensive purchase of any non-subsidized professional theatre in our region.
5. Wayside Theatre recognizes that many in our community do not feel they have the capacity to become regular donors. To that end, Wayside Theatre is launching the $20 Is Plenty campaign to encourage supporters to donate $20 on an annual, quarterly, or monthly basis, in much the same way that they might contribute to other not-for-profit concerns in their lives such as their local PBS affiliate or their Church.