While Barter Theatre remains financially sound, officials said the donation goal of $475,000 must be met between now and December 31, 2012. "This amount is necessary to support the high-quality productions, community services and educational programs for which the 79-year-old theatre has become famous," said Richard Rose, producing artistic director.
"As a non-profit arts organization, Barter Theatre's operating expenses are not covered fully by ticket prices," said Rose. The year end push for the annual fund is nothing new for non-profits; Barter Theatre has chosen to make these efforts public because it is more critical than ever for non-profits to receive funding from individuals. A steady decline in state and federal funding pushes the need for individual donors to support what is important in their communities.
"We are proud to say that many new donors of all ages and walks of life are realizing the importance of Barter Theatre to our community and to the entire region and are stepping forward in support," said Rose.
"Our donors know the importance of arts education and our partnerships with schools. They also know the value of having a cultural institution with such a rich history and important artistic mission that serves well over 200,000 people annually. "Individuals and families recognize the value of Barter Theatre for themselves and for their community and with their support they play a very important role," said Rose.
Barter Theatre produces 17 to 19 shows in repertory each year. Up to five productions are rotating in and out of either Barter Theatre's Main Stage or Barter Stage II at any given time. Barter Theatre artists design everything from the costumes, sets, props and more to bring an author's words on the page to vivid life on the stage.
"Barter's productions are of a quality equal to any of the nation's greatest theatres and Barter employs first-class, professional actors and stage managers who perform with perfection at Barter Theatre and Barter Stage II," said Rose.
Barter is also leading the way regionally and nationally in artistic development programs such as Barter's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights and The Shaping of America series. Both programs work directly with playwrights to help advance new works to be produced at Barter and go on to be produced in theatres across the nation.
"It is our hope that in bringing the 2012 year-end fundraising campaign to the public, we can have the opportunity to provide understanding of Barter's programming," said Rose. "We invite everyone to have a conversation with us to see how valuable our programs are and understand that all gifts are seriously important and resources at Barter are used wisely."
In addition to producing quality productions, Barter is committed to arts education and partnering with schools to offer student matinees, playwriting workshops and classes in acting and design work.
Barter Theatre subsidizes a percentage of the tickets for students who meet financial eligibility. Besides working with schools to ensure arts education, Barter goes a step further with the Student Matinee program to allow these students, even those who cannot afford it, the opportunity to attend with their classmates. On average, this means that each student pays only one-third of the actual ticket price. Rose added, "The US Census data found our area to be among the poorest in the country and arts education is vital for our students' education and competitiveness for colleges and jobs."
"Many people remember their first experience with Barter Theatre as a student," said Rose. "People tell us daily how meaningful and inspirational it was and how they now bring their children and grandchildren to the theatre because of that experience. Donations to the annual fund help support the student matinee program so that all students in this region have the opportunity to experience a professional live theatre."
"Although our ticket prices are some of the lowest in the industry, we at Barter Theatre believe that no child should be turned away because their parents cannot afford to pay. Your donation can ensure that students can attend and see something they have never seen before and honestly may not have theopportunity to ever see again," said Rose.