A Letter to the Community: Local theatres respond to the coronavirus pandemic

Editor’s Note: Matthew Terrell, communications director for Dad’s Garage Theatre, penned this letter, which has been signed by many of the city’s theatres, addressing how the community can help the companies bounce back once they reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.

To Our Local Theatre Fans, Friends, and Family:

Right now is an unprecedented time for our community, and the local theatre community will likely be hit especially hard. COVID-19 has caused a great deal of change, and we are all facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Currently, our leaders are making the hard but necessary choice to ban mass gatherings of people, and nobody is sure how long this may go on for. This directly affects theatres, as we will most likely be unable to host shows and sell tickets for an extended period of time. Theatres are facing a major loss in revenue because of this. In addition to the impact on our organizations, the performers, artisans, and administrative staff of local theatres are also likely to have personal financial struggles through the coming weeks.

We are coming to you now to ask for your continued support of local theatre, even as we
temporarily shutter our doors. There are three easy ways you can help support us through these uncertain times: make a donation, buy a gift certificate, and talk to your legislators.

Make a donation. All of the theatres listed in this letter are nonprofit organizations. That means that we re-invest any profits we make back into our mission, rather than paying shareholders. As nonprofit organizations, it also means we can accept tax-deductible donations! This is by far the best thing you can do right now to support your local theatres. A pledge for monthly support is also a wonderful way to provide sustained support as we work to recover in the coming months. Finally, if you bought a ticket to a show that gets cancelled, consider turning the cost of that ticket into a donation, rather than asking for a refund.

Buy a gift certificate. Many local theatres have the ability to issue gift certificates that patrons can use for future shows. Please check with the theatres you frequent, and inquire if they can sell a gift certificate. Treat your future self to a night of entertainment, and once life returns to normal we look forward to welcoming you into our theatres!

Talk to your legislators. In the coming weeks there will likely be bills put forth on the state and national levels for economic relief for those affected by COVID-19. Please reach out to your legislators and let them know that nonprofit arts organizations and artists should be included in these relief packages.

We can make it through this together, but local theatres need your support to help weather this storm. Even once COVID-19 passes, theatres will still be facing financial gaps and tight budgets, and will likely be asking for your donation to offset our losses. Please have patience with us. We are all dedicated to bringing you amazing theatrical experiences

We look forward to seeing you once again at our theatres. Until then, stay safe and healthy.

This too shall pass.

7 Stages
Actor’s Express
Alliance Theatre
Aris Theatre
Atlanta Lyric Theatre
The Atlanta Shakespeare Company
Aurora Theatre
Center for Puppetry Arts
City Springs Theatre
Dad’s Garage Theatre
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Horizon Theatre Company
Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre
Out Front Theatre Company
Out of Hand Theatre
Serenbe Playhouse
Stage Door Players
Synchronicity Theatre
Theatre Buford
Theatre du Reve
Theatrical Outfit
Whole World Theatre

2 Comments
  1. I am so pleased to see this article published in your paper. I don’t know what process you used in listing these impacted theatres, but please don’t forget about OnStage Atlanta! Not that there can ever be a good time for something like this, but OSA just moved into its beautiful new space (after spending virtually all of its cash reserves on the renovation). Thanks Mr. Kelly and Atlanta Intown for supporting our local artists!

    Susan Atkinson
    Chair, OSA Board of Directors

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