Last Tuesday night, I logged onto Facebook and found out I'd lost my summer job.
Let me clarify. Theatre West Virginia, where Marcus and I work in the summers, lost $100,000 in government funding. On Tuesday of last week, the board of directors decided to close the doors, thus cancelling the 2009 summer season. When I logged onto Facebook, our artistic director's status said "TWV board has decided to close the doors. We would need 100 people to give $1,000 in order for us to stay open." Ugh. I immediately wrote to her, asking what we could do to help. I have no idea why a fundraiser was not thought to be the first plan of attack. However, this week the board has allowed them to start a huge fundraising effort. To my knowledge, they have already collected over $2,000. Marcus and I are going to be sending out a letter to everyone we can find who has ties to TWV as well as to a lot of our theatre contacts. Our goal is to try and get 20,000 people to give $5. Money is tight right now for everyone, but $5 seems like a reasonable amount, even for our employees who are college students. If TWV is closed this summer, that elimnates over 100 jobs in theatre. We cannot let this happen. Not only does this elimnate a huge employment opportunity for college students and early career professionals, it also puts educators and working artists like Marcus and me out of work. And, the most tragic part to me, it pulls the year-round educational tour off the road and puts TWV's 5 full time employees out of work. The tour travels all around the state of WV playing to elementary and middle school students. For most of them, it's the first theatre experience they have had. For some, it will be the only one they will have. The work we do is so important. Please send up a prayer and good thoughts for TWV and let's hope we don't have to close our doors this season.
On the off chance that you are interested in donating to TWV, email me. Address can be found in my full profile. Thanks!