In a triumph for the arts community, TheatreWorks raises $4 million, which not only met but exceeded its fundraising target of $3 million for the “Save TheatreWorks Now” campaign.
In August, the Tony Award-winning theater company announced it was facing a financial shortfall due to a slow post-COVID recovery: with a budget gap of a few million, the theater’s future was in jeopardy. But by Nov. 30, groundswell of support from more than 700 individual donors had rallied around the iconic theater, breaking its fundraising target and raising $4 million.
The success of the campaign is a direct result of the community’s enduring commitment and belief in the importance of the arts, said Executive Director Debbie Chinn in a press release.
“Our work is not done, but this provides us with the funds needed to contract artists for the rest of our current season, plus a cushion to help us survive the inevitable headwinds TheatreWorks, like all arts groups, will continue to encounter,” Chinn said.
Around the Bay Area, theaters have been forced to shutter. PianoFight, the Bay Area Children’s Theatre and TheatreFirst all closed their doors in the past year. Nationally, theaters are facing a reckoning as attendance levels struggle to reach pre-pandemic heights.
But thanks to the community’s prompt and generous response, TheatreWorks will have a different future. Chinn said the campaign’s success is a testament to TheatreWork’ role as a community fixture, and a public that recognizes the essential service it provides. The company can now focus on stabilizing thanks to the cushion provided by the exceeded fundraising goal, she said.
Giovanna Sardelli, the Artistic Director of TheatreWorks, said the campaign served a dual purpose—addressing immediate financial needs but also raising awareness about the theater’s dependence on audience attendance and sustaining donations. Sardelli said there has recently been an unprecedented number of new donors and an increase in ticket sales and subscriptions, bringing the theater closer to pre-pandemic levels.
“During the past three months, theatre lovers from far and wide came forward to help in a variety of ways, affirming TheatreWorks’ deep roots and extensive reach in the Bay Area,” Sardelli said. “I heard over and over that they just could not imagine a future without TheatreWorks. To all of them, we are so grateful.”
Sardelli also said that planning is already underway for an exciting 54th season at the theater.