20/21 SEASON UPDATES
Heeding the guidance of local, state, and national health authorities, GREAT has made the heartbreaking decision to postpone our 20/21 Broadway Series at the Paramount Center for the Arts. New dates will be announced when mass gatherings are deemed safe for our community and financially feasible for GREAT.
Never in my 22 years leading this organization did I prepare for postponing a season, furloughing staff and moving our educational programming online. We’re deeply grateful to our community for sticking with us and for being loyal and patient during this time of uncertainty. All future plans will be made with a commitment to ensuring the highest safety standards when we resume and to ensure GREAT survives and thrives. – Executive Director Dennis Whipple
This decision to postpone was made to ensure the safety of the community and the financially viability of GREAT. In a recent survey over 70% of our audience members say they won’t return until 2021 at the earliest. However, our surveys do show volunteer and audience support for producing a small cast production of “The Laramie Project” under a strict set of safety guidelines in the Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre. In addition, GREAT will continue online education classes in partnership with local non-profits, schools and community artists.
GREATer TOGETHER: Today’s Needs, Tomorrow’s Dreams
The pandemic has cut GREAT Theatre’s earned revenue by more than 50%. We have made the difficult decision to eliminate some staff positions and will miss these wonderful artists, we will continue to furlough some positions and the rest will be working fewer hours. Our ability to keep our staff is dependent on our fundraising success. We will soon be announcing a fundraising campaign as philanthropy will be our primary source of income for the foreseeable future and will be critical as we rebuild, reinvent, and continue to share the joy of the arts with our community.
Please note: New tax rules in the stimulus plan make your donation easier to deduct. Even if you do not itemize you can deduct a gift of up to $300.00 for individuals and $600 for couples.
Tickets for any 20/21 season GREAT show that is postponed will be transferred to a credit on-account that will be honored for future performances. GREAT will perform all the shows announced and updated dates will be shared through email and social media when it is determined to be safe.
Communications and accommodations have been made for cancelled shows of Ahoy! Murder! Dead Ahead, Our Town, and Guys and Dolls. The Laramie Project has been rescheduled and Every Brilliant Thing is postponed with dates to be determined.
The majority of GREAT’s staff have been furloughed or are working reduced hours so anyone with questions regarding tickets is asked to please email Lacey@GREATTheatre.org.
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Though it looks different, theatre education has not stopped just because we cannot meet in person, and it’s been exciting to adapt to the current needs of our community.
- Discovery: Back when this all began last spring, we continued working with our neighborhood school, Discovery, adapting the social emotional learning curriculum for a virtual environment. We continued to meet with first and second graders online as well as record and upload lessons for Discovery’s use.
- Live from the Lab: These Friday night broadcasts ran in April and May where we saw lots of volunteer participation through the virtual cabarets and Shakespeare play readings and we got to hear from professional designers, too.
- United Way: Most recently we’ve continued our programming with United Way, offering virtual Drama Workshops at Kidstop and Boys & Girls Clubs locations. By the end of July we’ll have taught three sessions of Drama Workshop, working with kids in 1st through 5th grades to develop characters and create stories using everyday items around the house as the springboard.
- We Speak: We’re in the midst of a virtual session with South Jr. High on this project that centers student voices and uses theatre as a tool to focus on the significance of telling our own stories and deepening our understanding of the world around us.
- 2020 Camp T-Shirts: A few weeks ago our 2020 camp families were invited to stop by GREAT and pick up a Summer 2020 GREAT t-shirt. It was great to see so many folx at the drive-by t-shirt pickup and a special thanks to camp instructors who helped with distribution.
- Virtual Summer ACTivities: Over 150 families signed up to participate! Every other day for the next two weeks, students can check in to our Google Classroom and engage in a theatre project from the comfort of their own home in a timeframe that works with their schedule. We’re looking at costume design, monologue work, scene work, playwriting, and choreography. And we’re thrilled to engage kids from kindergarten through high school! Thanks to donors and sponsors, this is provided at no cost to the camper.
- Commitment to Equity: We have also continued our own education as GREAT staff, these last few months. We are committed to anti-racism as an organization and, as a leadership team, have been reading and discussing Layla Saad’s Me & White Supremacy. We are continuing to learn and unlearn so that we can examine how our policies and procedures uphold structures of racism so that we can better our organization. We’re in this for the long haul and we recognize the internal work is necessary for structural change.
- In May we made the heart-wrenching and difficult decision to cancel our 2020 summer theatre camps. All registration requests have been processed. Thank you to the many families that donated a portion or all their 2020 camp registration back to GREAT. We look forward to being back even stronger for your kids and our community in 2021.
In our near 23 seasons of producing theatre with and for our community, safety of our volunteers, audiences and staff has been very important. We are still working on the best ways to protect the health and safety of GREAT volunteers, ushers, artists and backstage crews. A first draft of our guidelines is available to review. We are also working with the Paramount Center for the Arts to ensure safety in their facility as well as guidelines for our audiences.
We are grateful to each and every person who donated their tickets or registration back to GREAT, donors who made additional gifts, our funders like the MSAB, CMAB, CMCF, Optimists Clubs, Humanities Center and Morgan Family Foundation that have committed their support during this challenging time. We really are GREATer together.
STAY IN TOUCH
All GREAT staff are working remotely from our homes so reaching out via email is the best way to communicate
Together, we will survive this. We dream that when we are again able to bring the community together for shared theater experiences, we will be even GREATer for you. Thank you for making GREAT your community theatre.