Nonprofit theatre to end seasonBy Jeremy Connor | 07/09/2015 5:42pm
Justin Barnett, Colton Crowe, Brody Southern and Ty Corbett practice a routine. CW | Hanna Curlette
Theatre Tuscaloosa, a community theatre that can boast being one of the largest in the state, will soon perform “Fiddler on the Roof.” The show, like any large production, costs a great deal of money to put together. Amongst other items and services, costs include set production, costumes and makeup. In order to ensure financial coverage, the group takes most of its donations in a traditional tiered platform.
Allyson Azar, a member of the ensemble in the show, said she supports the use of fundraising for the show.
PLAN TO GO
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 10
The show runs July 10 – July 19
WHERE: Bean-Brown Theatre
9500 Old Greensboro Road
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
“Fundraising is such an important aspect of community shows because it shows the support of the arts within the community,” Azar said. “Without it, we would not be able to survive and do what we love.”
Azar said though this is her first show with Theatre Tuscaloosa, she has done various types of fundraising in her time in theatre.
“In other theatres, I have been a part of fundraising, like small free performances with donations, as well as doing fundraisers with local restaurants to receive percentages of tickets to donate to us,” she said.
Justin Barnett plays the role of the innkeeper in the play and serves as the male dance captain.
“Putting on shows cost a lot of money, especially when you are a non-profit theatre organization. Theatre Tuscaloosa does a great job of finding money through grants, sponsorships and fundraisers,” Barnett said.
Barnett, an 18-show veteran with Theatre Tuscaloosa, has been a part of many fundraising opportunities.
“I helped organize a fundraiser with Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre, an organization where I found my love for theatre,” he said. “My dear friend, Kelsey Holland, and myself organized a dinner theatre and silent auction last summer for TCT and it was a huge success.”
Besides the typical donation methods that most theatres use, Theatre Tuscaloosa has also come up with a new, creative way to donate.
Listing items for auction that fit into the story of Fiddler, Theatre Tuscaloosa is taking donations to the dowries of Tevye, the main character who attempts to marry off his daughters. For example, a patron can pledge $300 to help cover the “Matchmaker’s Fee.”
Charles Prosser plays the main character of the story, Tevye the milkman. Prosser had an active part in the fundraising for this show in particular and was a part of the dowry donation event.
“I, along with three other cast mates, performed songs from the show for the folks there to bid on several items,” he said.
Throughout his tenure with Theatre Tuscaloosa and other theatres, including productions at the University, Prosser has participated in other creative fundraising events.
“I have participated in ‘Miscast,’ a fundraiser where performers got to do scenes or sing songs that they would never actually be cast to do,” Prosser said. “For example, I got to sing ‘Tomorrow’ from ANNIE as Annie. Another event was called ‘Casting Couch,’ where folks bid to have performers do numbers or scenes from past shows or be placed in scenes of the bidder’s choosing.”
Paul K. Looney, the director of the show, said even though the theatre makes money off of fundraising events like the dowry auction, the main source of funding for each show comes from a corporate sponsor.
“The way most theatres work is that you live off of your corporate sponsors and your season subscribers,” Looney said. “What Theatre Tuscaloosa does is we will have different levels of contributors, and we actually have corporate sponsors that sponsor a show. Aside from that, there is no major donor that foots the bills for us.”
This combination of the smaller fundraising opportunities and the big sponsors is what makes shows like “Fiddler on the Roof” a possibility for the Tuscaloosa community to enjoy.
Theatre Tuscaloosa’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” opens on Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.