Arizona Theatre Company needs to raise $2 million or it may suspend its upcoming season

Posted at 9:37 AM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 15:25:18-04

Arizona Theatre Company has less than a week to raise $2 million or its upcoming season (a milestone, it's 50th) will likely be canceled, and subscribers will not be refunded.

The funds are needed to continue operations, which would include putting on its upcoming season.

"While considerable progress has been made toward long-term financial sustainability, the ongoing effort to attract contributed income to ensure continued artistic and financial success has fallen short of expectations," said Cameron C. Artigue, chairman of ATC's Board of Trustrees, in a media release.

The news comes as the theatre celebrates its last two seasons, which were reportedly its most successful.

What happens if the theatre does not reach its goal?

  • The theatre will wind down operations and cancel its upcoming season and restructure.
  • Season tickets already purchased will not be refunded.
  • Instead, the money will be considered a tax deductible donation and ATC will work to provide ticket holders with other experiences at other venues

Now the theatre is hoping the community can step up and help out--to the tune of $2 million, which breaks down to $400,000 a day.

What happens if the campaign does not reach its goal?

According to Steve Carr, spokesman for the theatre, those donations "will be treated as pledges towards next season, unless otherwise directed by the donor. If the season does not proceed, donors requesting refunds will have their money returned."

The latter is an option those who purchased season tickets do not have because the money is not there.

According to the website, season ticket packages start $120.

We're season ticket holders aware early on that the 50th season may not happen?

An ATC spokesperson could not confirm if season ticket holders were warned ahead of time that the upcoming season may not happen due to financial strains.

However, it was confirmed that the $2 million campaign message was not posted online until this week, "not a decision made lightly or on the spur of the moment," according to the spokesperson.

"The fact is, ATC has been engaged in a concerted, more traditional and quieter fund-raising effort the last eight months. Unfortunately, that effort did not produce the outcomes we had anticipated and hoped for, and our decision to go public was out of necessity...," Carr said in an email.

ATC is a non-profit arts organization and has productions in Phoenix and Tucson. Sixty percent of its overall revenue comes from ticket sales, while the other 40 percent comes from grants, sponsors and donations.

The theatre has 2,500 donors who have been generous, but that is "not healthy or sustainable" to rely on them solely for support year after year. That is something many non-profit theater companies face.

According to a Q&A posted online, ATC requires $3.5 million in "contributed income" each year, in addition to the $4 million it makes in ticket sales, to fully operate.

If you would like to help out with ATC's campaign, click here.