5 Big Funding Announcements For Performing Arts Theaters

5 Big Funding Announcements For Performing Arts Theaters

Green Means Go for Performing Arts Theaters

From coast to coast more and more performing arts theaters are thriving. ThunderTix's 'Green Means Go' series continues with news of five big funding announcements totaling $13,850,000.00 - It's like they hit the Powerball lottery! This edition of Green Means Go on how these five theaters got their funding for renovations, additional staff and new performance seasons.

Performing Arts theaters work hard to meet their funding goals. So when news of big funding rounds are announced it is reason to cheer and ask "How'd they do it?" For theater executives, Green Means Go lists the following funding success stories and highlights the method(s) used.

Hale Centre Theatre - $4 million

Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City Utah announced it's plans for a major expansion into a new facility that will triple seating capacity. The expansion is the culmination of years of fundraising, city underwriting and the dedication of the area residents. The popular venue has the means to make the move after its latest round of funding raising ($4,000,000.00 in donations and the issuance of municipal bonds for $4,300,000.00).

Cimaron Neugebauer of the Salt Lake Tribune says the theater company "dreams of a fanciful future" in its new location.

The new Hale Centre Theatre won’t just have more than triple the seating. The preliminary drawings show a state-of-the-art multi-story building with 1,900 seats in three performing areas, giving the audience a full 3-D experience with the ability to store 26 rotating stages, up to 20-foot high LED walls.

The multi-million dollar funding and the increase in capacity doesn't mean the non-profit has lost sight of it roots though. There will be a continuing effort to bring culture and entertainment to everyone from all walks of life.

Ticket prices are yet to be set for performances at the new location, but the non-profit hopes to keep all seats affordable for families through additional fundraising and charitable donations from new and established patrons of The Arts.

Hale Centre vice president and executive producer Sally Dietlein stressed "It is absolutely essential that we don’t make theatre elitist. Theater needs to be available to everybody."

Rapid City Performing Arts Center - $9.2 million

Deep in the heart of South Dakota, the Rapid City School District has renovated a historic building which will be a new performing arts center. The project is nearing completion thanks to its $9,200,000 funding, a cooperative effort between the school district and Rapid City Performing Arts non-profit origination. The venue is a former high school built in the 1930s and will serve as a multi-function facility for theater, concerts and school recitals.

The Rapid City Journal reports the Rapid City Children's Chorus will give the first performance in the theater.

Rapid City residents will have their first preview of the restored 1937 auditorium on Sunday when the Rapid City Children’s Chorus takes the stage in the 830-seat Historic Theatre. The smaller, 170-seat Studio Theatre is already in use.

Construction and renovation efforts for the historic building were made possible through a combination of fundraising, grants and defer payments to the contractors Rapid City Construction, general contractor for the high school project and J. Scull Construction. This blended approach to funding is of note since it lessens the burden on individual donors.

Sioux Falls State Theater - $500,000

Also in South Dakota is news of a landmark theater re-opening its doors, after being closed for decades, as a direct result of new fundraising successes. Build in 1923 the State Theater was the place for area residents seeking entertainment to gather as a community. The venue was shuttered in 1991 but now has a new lease on life as do the citizens of Sioux City seeking cultural enrichment.

Renovation of the State is underway and will open once again early in 2013. The rejuvenated venue is being renamed as the Sylvia R. Henkin State Theatre in honor of the primary donor 91-year-old Sylvia Henkin. The Henkin family estate donated $500,000.00 to bring the facility back to its former Vaudeville-era glory. The generous lump sum will be carefully managed by the board of trustees who intend to "grow" it into even more. The Times describes the funding efforts for the street on which the theater is located:

Downtown's Phillips Avenue is once again a bustling strip, and the nonprofit [entities have raised] about $2.5 million, putting about $1.5 million of it into reconstruction.

All theaters and non-profits should take note of the way in which the theater has been under the management of different organizations since the late 90s, each one starting but never successfully completing their funding goals. Persistence in finding the right patron to be the spearhead, in this case the Henkin family estate, pays off eventually.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival - $100,000

The National Endowments for The Arts logo

A wise person once said "Where's there's a will, there's a way".That expression aptly describes how the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has been recommended to receive a $100,000.00 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a new performance of 'The Liquid Plain'.

OSF is just one of the 800+ non-profit operations that will benefit from the NEA's $23 million in grants through the rest of 2012 and continuing into 2013. Broadway World talked to Bill Rauch, the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with Rauch saying:

The Liquid Plain is exactly the kind of new work that we should be doing as our country’s largest language-based theater. Naomi’s language is fierce, tender, and thrilling. It is a brave and important new American play, and I couldn't be more pleased that we are premiering it and more grateful for this significant support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The OSF is an umbrella non-profit organization encompassing multiple venues. The newly funded 'Liquid' will be performed at the Thomas Theater. Other theatrical performances, like the Taming of the Shrew, will be held at the Angus Bowmer Theatre.

Funding by the NEA is on a very large scale. That should give all theaters and non-profits the encouragement to apply for a grant themselves. As Broadway World notes, in March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $23.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences.

OSF is not the only recent beneficiary of a NEA grant...

National Latino Theater Festival - $50,000

In Los Angeles California, another National Endowment for the Arts grant has been awarded to the Latino Theater Company. The grant amount of $50,000.00 will be used to create a "Latino theater festival and conference" furthering The Arts as both a cultural endeavor and as a non-profit business.

The Los Angels Times reports that the Latino Theater Company will make the most of the NEA grant:

The projected budget is about $1.2 million for a three-month festival in the spring of 2014. Four plays will run concurrently — one on each of LATC's four stages — for up to four weeks each. After a play has premiered at the festival, the home company that developed it and staged it in L.A. will mount a subsequent production in its own city.

The theater festival will run multiple plays concurrently on a yet-to-be determined date sometime in 2014. Which plays will be performed has not been determined yet either, but the vetting process is well under way now that funding is no longer a concern.

Theaters and non-profit should take the time to note all of the other projects NEA has funded recently in the state of California. The list is extensive and will only get longer as the NEA receives its fiscal 2013 operation budget from the newly elected Congress.

The theaters in this edition of Green Means Go achieved their fundraising goals in different ways. Some have a single champion donor, others use a sophisticated blend of grants, donations and deferred payments to contractors. All of the theaters have one thing in common - the need to ask for and take donations during the ticket purchase process.

Successful funding efforts may be the end of a journey for some in performing arts theaters, for others it is just the beginning. Long term success for non-profit theaters is reliant on ticket sales, first and foremost. The ticketing software used must have the tools to politely ask for and take donations, have interactive seating charts (especially if it is a school, as to avoid the stampede of parents!) and make your ticket funds immediately available.

ThunderTix offers all of those features plus we take great pride in not charging theaters per-ticket fees. In fact, we do not charge any of our customers ticket fees. If your performing arts theater or non-profit event is yet to start selling tickets and taking donations online, or your funding goals via ticket sales are not being met, we encourage you to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!

What is 'Green Means Go'? ThunderTix’s commitment to The Arts doesn't end with a sold out performance. We want to help theaters, big and small, meet their operational goals by sharing new ideas and best practices for accepting donations and increased ticket sales. 'Green Means Go' is a series for performing arts theaters and chronicles the latest developments in fundraising, event awareness and ticket sale technology.

Previous editions of 'Green Means Go' are here:

Should Theaters Use Dynamic Pricing?

New Series - Green Means Go for Performing Arts Theaters