Is CCTC/HJT closing?
No! The show must and will go on, but we will need your help (see How Can I Help?). The theatre has accumulated debt over the past 17 years and it must be addressed. Spending consistently has outpaced revenues. The Board of Directors has been dedicated to this issue particularly for the past two years with a close eye on spending, implementation of stronger fiscal policies, and increased involvement in the day-to-day operations to determine areas that can be made more efficient and improve our customers’ experience.
What is the debt from?
Program spending and salaries consistently have outpaced revenues. There have been mandatory improvements to our facility – including a rebuild of our stage in 2014 (a safety measure) as well as new front and kitchen doors to replace the existing ones that were no longer securing the building (2015). These costs, though, were covered largely by reserved funds from grants that were written specifically for these purposes and did not come out of our operating funds.
Won’t Fundraising Help?
Absolutely! We have a dedicated team and strategy for development in place. Since November, we have made great strides in cleaning our database to make it more accurate. Our major campaigns – including our Spring Member Drive, Fall Annual Fund, and Annual Raffle – appeal to our patrons and theatre lovers from around the country – and are the heart of our fundraising efforts.
Why didn’t you start a Capital Campaign?
Four years ago, the organization had considered launching a Capital campaign (to improve and possibly expand the theatre building). After much research and on the advice of external experts, we opted to table that effort since the funds would have been restricted to building improvements and would not have contributed to eliminating our growing debt. We opted instead to refocus our energies and efforts on shoring up our existing major fundraisers (see Won’t Fundraising Help?) that contribute unrestricted funds toward our operations.
What is going on with the theatre’s bylaws?
In 2016 the Board examined the theatre’s bylaws, as all nonprofits are required to do periodically. The Board sought to update some aspects of the bylaws to improve efficiency. There was no plan to disenfranchise anyone from being involved in the life of the theatre. The Board is reviewing the 2016 changes to the bylaws, and plans to bring them to the Annual Meeting in August for a vote.
Why didn’t we have a Cast-A-Way Beach Party last year?
Our annual Cast-A-Way party is a celebration of our community. It is NOT a fundraiser and never was intended to be a fundraising event. In fact, the cost of the attendee ticket covers the food, beverages, and entertainment and we struggle to break even each year. This year, several factors contributed to the cancellation of the party, including our financial situation which was beginning to take a downward turn resulting from a serious drop-off in audience attendance during the last show of our 2016 summer season.
With the layoff of a staff member, how does the theatre continue to run?
We have two full-time staff, and dozens of creative people who are contracted to direct, choreograph, design sets, light the stage, and provide music for productions. We also hire talented teachers for our theatre education program. In addition, we have countless volunteers who help with box office, ushering, house managing, along with a working Board. All of these people contribute collectively to running the theatre day-to-day.
Is the name change hurting the theatre?
No, quite the opposite. The name change is attracting new audiences to our theatre. The consistent high-standards and professionalism of our programming as well as that of our promotional materials are attracting positive attention – and sponsors. For many of us who grew up here – or whose children experienced the magic of the Harwich Jr. Theatre, this theatre will never be known by any other name. For many years though, Nina Schuessler, the theatre’s producing artistic director, felt that the “Junior” in the name limited our audiences to people who really knew us. Tourists and even year-round residents viewed us as a “kids’ theatre” – and their perception was that it didn’t offer much to adults or serious theatre-goers. When Nina approached our Board about a name change, after much research and discussion, we went about changing the name to something more encompassing. The Cape Cod Theatre Company name was launched in 2015, and still maintains its HJT roots within the name. The name change included a professionally designed new logo which incorporates our iconic jester hat, and the launch of a new website which was designed by a well-respected web team and graphic artist who donated the majority of their time and talent to the project.
Will theatre education classes still be offered?
Yes! Our teachers continue to provide young people and adults with opportunities to build on a solid foundation of basic acting techniques. We are working to streamline and enhance our educational offerings to provide programming that is in alignment with our mission to educate, empower, and inspire students of all ages and from all backgrounds to explore and expand their creative talents and aspirations in the performing arts. Classes for the summer season will be released soon and you can view them here.
Is the theatre still doing outreach programs for Cape schools?
The theatre will continue outreach in a reduced capacity. At the moment, many of our outreach grants have been completed (e.g., Bullying and Teasing Prevention) and are not up for renewal. It’s important to correct a misperception that outreach pays for itself. It does not. Outreach actually costs the theatre in staff time and diverts a limited staff from a consistent focus on the programming that is devoted to our mission. We recognize that outreach programs are important connections to the community and offer valuable exposure to the Arts for young people. Our organization is redoubling its focus on our productions and education at the moment. Outreach opportunities, though, remain an important part of our restructuring plan and in the meantime will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
What about this summer? What will be happening at the theatre?
The theatre is celebrating its 66th season this year. Our traditional programming, which includes classes, workshops, theatre productions, and special events will be featured, as always! Our production line-up for the summer season will be released soon and you can view it here.
How can I help?
There are a number of ways to help the theatre regain its footing. Here are a few immediate ways to help:
Donate: The John K. and Thirza F. Davenport Foundation generously has offered a $20,000 challenge grant to our theatre which will match donations through June 30, 2017. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who have asked how they can help preserve the future of this iconic theatre to join together in strong and meaningful support. Join the challenge and DOUBLE the value of your donation! Every gift matters.Donate today
Volunteer: Our ushers, Box Office staff, and house managers get to enjoy a night out, meet new people, AND get to see the show for free! There are many volunteer opportunities available. Join our volunteer team
Become a Member: The organization’s membership helps light the lights and keeps our doors open for people to experience and enjoy live theatre. Help us sustain our theatre for today and for future generations. Become a member