Like many industries, live entertainment was hit hard by the pandemic this past year. COVID-19 shuttered our performance spaces and our ability to operate. Theatre is all about sharing an experience with our community — with each other. We share stories in our auditoriums while sharing the same air with hundreds of other audience members. As gathering capacities begin to return to normal, patron's fears of sharing an enclosed space for two hours will assuredly cause live theatre to lag behind other industries, and ticket sales will be slow to recover. Additionally, supply chain interruptions — particularly the 400%+ increase in lumber costs — will impede University Theatre's ability to deliver the quality of performance the community and our students have come to expect.
Ticket revenue directly impacts University Theatre's ability to stage the elaborate productions created by the students and staff of NC State. Reduced attendance and higher materials cost require University Theatre to look to the community for support as we all return to a new normal.
This funding will directly support the construction of scenery and fabrication of costumes for the 2021-22 University Theatre season.
Production budgets are based on a percentage of projected ticket revenues and foundation funding. The budget created by this percentage is considered during the scenic and costume design phase, to ensure a balanced budget. Due to the nature of theatre, each production's needs differ from year to year and show to show. Each shop (costume and scenery) is given a budget and must design within that number.
A pre-pandemic year provided $35,000 on average for production elements for the entire season. Post-COVID, we are projecting $15,000 for production elements. Given the higher costs of materials and supplies, our ability to produce at the same level will be greatly reduced. Reducing the number of productions reduces costs but also reduces revenues — a catch-22. This leaves foundation funds to help cover the funding gap until University Theatre can return to pre-pandemic attendance levels.
An additional $5,000 would bring University Theatre to just above half of its previous production budget. If we can put this level of funding at the disposal of our talented designers, we hope to continue to provide the quality of performances our students and community have come to love.
Funds will be placed in the University Theatre Enhancement Fund. If the project does not meet its fundraising goal, exceeds the project need, or the project cannot be completed, the funds will be used for the overall enhancement of the University Theatre Program.
Gifts are received by the NC State University Foundation, Inc. and may be distributed to an affiliated foundation that manages the fund supported by the donor.