By: Megan McCasland
Waco Civic Theatre is bustling with creative energy as we head into the final 24 hours before putting on the first show of our 2017-18 season: Stars: Million Dollar Reunion. Stars is our main fundraising event, showcasing the brightest talent available to us. Phillip Diaz, our Box Office Manager (and one of the actors featured in Stars), said that the purpose behind this show is “to show the community what it is we do here, the level of excellence we strive for, and why they should support us.”
Without the generosity of you, our amazing community of theatre-lovers and supporters, Waco Civic Theatre would not have been able to produce the fine work that we have for as long as we have. Eric Shephard, our Executive Director, said that “the cost of producing shows is so much more expensive than what we want to charge patrons in ticket prices,” so it is important for us to have other forms of funding so we can continue to do what we love to do.
The more accomplished an arts organization is, the more it relies on donations from the community it lives in. Currently, about 70 percent of Waco Civic Theatre’s income is earned through box office sales, concessions, membership, and walk-in ticket sales. “A healthy arts organization’s revenue, however,” Shephard said, “is typically closer to 50 percent earned income and 50 percent in sponsorships and contributions.”
Giving to the arts is important because they bring the community together in a way that everyday communication and social media is unable to do. And with the country as divided as it has been in recent years, it is necessary to have places like theatres, music venues, and museums in our communities so people can have a place to escape and become immersed in the universality of the arts.
Not only do the cultural arts bring the community together, but being creative and surrounding oneself with creativity “spurs interest in learning,” Cathy Hawes, our Special Events Coordinator (and another actor featured in Stars), said. “Sometimes you can reach people with [creativity] better than you can with spoken language.”
Studies conducted by Americans for the Arts and the Texas Music Educators Association have shown that students involved in the arts get higher scores on their SATs than students not uninvolved in the arts. By keeping arts programs in local communities, it provides a chance for students to possibly find a passion they did not know they had and improve their test scores while doing so.
We at Waco Civic Theatre try to challenge ourselves to give back to the community while producing more and more high-quality work. But we cannot continue to do so if we do not have the funds to produce high-quality work that will entice people into our doors.
“The arts are the lifeblood and truest form of expression of any community,” Shephard said, “so it’s important that every community supports their local arts scene, whatever it may be.”
Photo taken by: Megan McCasland