The Seacoast Repertory Theatre is “out of immediate danger,” but interim managing director Kathleen Cavalaro says the theater still needs to raise funds to secure the Rep’s future.
The theater launched an “urgent” fundraising campaign in November that asked donors for $50,000 — enough to keep the theater open and mount its production of “The Wizard of Oz” in December. The campaign began just days after the resignation of the Rep’s long-time artistic director, Craig Faulkner. Though Faulkner resigned, he is still directing “The Wizard of Oz.” Miles Burns, who runs the theater’s children’s theater workshops and productions, is now the Rep’s interim artistic director.
Since the campaign began, the Rep has raised more than $50,000 through a mix of online donations through Indiegogo, an online fundraising service, and in-person contributions.
“We still need to fundraise far beyond the goal we needed to get ‘Oz’ up. The board has been putting together a campaign that we’re going to launch … to raise over $200,000 over the course of 2015,” Cavalaro says.
The fundraising campaign coincides with an overhaul of the theater’s administrative structure. That means hiring new staff, changing how the Rep works with resident actors, and developing systems that will lead to long-term budget stability, according to Cavalaro. And while the administrative side of the theater will be “rebuilt from scratch,” Cavalaro says Burns and the rest of the staff hope to maintain the quality of the Rep’s creative programs.
“We’ve excelled in the artistic area; we put on great shows, the direction was fantastic, and I feel really proud of the performances the Rep has put on, and I hope Miles and I can maintain that legacy,” Cavalaro says.
The Rep’s financial model “has never worked reliably … and, to be blunt, we’ve done a poor job over the years of fundraising,” a blog post announcing the campaign stated. Cavalaro says the Rep’s board of trustees believes that current fundraising efforts, if successful, will eliminate the theater’s deficit and help create an endowment “to insulate us from future difficulty.”
Meanwhile, Cavalaro says it’s been encouraging to see the community rally around the Rep. “The response has been great,” she says. “We had children come in and donate their allowance. The reach the Rep has had is just enormous. We’ve had all sorts of volunteers come forward, we’ve had donations of supplies, we’ve had people who donated and then donated again.”
Right now, Cavalaro says the theater’s main focus is getting “The Wizard of Oz” on stage for its run through December. After that, “we’ll put out a more formal response from the board of trustees and staff as to what 2015 will look like,” Cavalaro says. The theater has already begun announcing some of its 2015 productions, with “Guys and Dolls” slated for February and March of 2015, “Into the Woods” in May and June, and “Avenue Q” in August and September. Auditions for “Guys and Dolls” are scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. at the theater.