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Annual Appeal Letter - November 2009
This past year has been one of great challenges for most non-profit arts organizations; for Upstream Theater, it has also been one of great rewards, thanks to you.
The challenges have not disappeared: private foundations as well as state agencies have been severely affected, and corporations have been forced to trim their sponsorship programs. Theaters around the country have reacted in different ways: some have folded, some have changed their program, many have scaled back their offerings.
Our response was to stick to our mission and produce the best shows we could, and thanks to your help, this past year has seen some of our finest work ever (three U.S. premieres!)—for which the Riverfront Times recognized us as “Best Theater Company” for 2009. We were accepted into a national consortium of theaters, and our work has received national and even international attention. We have set up a new office in the Centene Center for Arts & Education. We remain one of the top employers of local professional (Equity) actors, and our focus on innovative design has led to an invitation to participate in the upcoming conference for professional designers in Kansas City. Such advancements are the return on your investment in Upstream Theater.
Of course we still have far to go, and we continue to depend as much on your generosity as on your attendance, especially in these times. Apart from funding what you see on stage, these gifts allow us to post the bonds required by the actors’ union, purchase insurance, and market our season. We are also in a position to accept gifts of negotiable securities, and are particularly interested in establishing funding to support artists-in-residence. (Naturally all donations are tax-deductible.)
As I said last year: I can’t guarantee that each of you will like every show we do, but I can pledge that we will always honor your contributions by producing plays to the best of our abilities. One of the beautiful things about our mission is that it encompasses a wide variety of plays, and our audiences are often the first people in the country to see them.
I would like to thank you for helping fulfill our mission to bring an international perspective to St. Louis Theater. After all, it is the audience that truly brings a play to life; it is you who make theater part of a greater social fabric, and help us fulfill a spiritual need.
With best regards,