My name is Craig Ewing and I am the Business Manager for Stage Crafters Community Theatre and I am asking you today for your donation to assure that we can “Go On with the Show!” . Words from one of theatre’s most beloved songs – “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. We need your help to assure that the show does go on for Stage Crafters Community Theatre, Florida’s oldest, all volunteer community theatre. Next year will mark Stage Crafters 50th year of bringing quality theatre to the gulf coast community and we need your help to ensure we can continue for the next 50 years.
Our future existence is threatened with a recent FWB City Council’s directive to collect market value rents as leases are renewed on all the city’s rental properties. Nearly 40 years ago, Stage Crafter members personally backed a loan, long since paid off, for the construction of our current warehouse on leased city land. We use this facility daily as a rehearsal hall, set construction area, and storage facility. However, with the new city policy, in 2 years when our current lease expires, the city will raise our rent from $100 a year to an unaffordable market rate of over $2,000 a month or they will sell our land/building to the highest bidder. Stage Crafters has approached the city and negotiated an agreement to buy the land and we need your help to accomplish this. With our land secured, Stage Crafters will have a permanent home, which will allow us to continue to provide a positive impact on our area population; business, and community identity.
This impact of these funds will be far more than transformational for our organization, it will actually ensure our future existence! Allowing us to continue our mission as a creative industry vital in supporting the cultural wellbeing of our community. The creative arts help to define us and shape reflective individuals, facilitate a greater understanding of themselves and their lives, and increase empathy with respect to others.
How We Impact our Community:
As a community-based organization we have a significant impact on our community and provide support to many other civic and charitable organizations by donating our time, talent, expertise, materials, and equipment. We provide a safe and needed outlet for the community to interact, learn, and practice the performing arts, allowing our volunteers to develop abilities that expand their marketable life skills. We welcome everyone from all walks of life; teachers, realtors, military service members, small business owners, students, and many, many more. We annually return over $100,000 back to local community businesses. Over the past 49 years, we have involved over 12,000 volunteers (of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds) and brought the experience of live theatre to over 350,000 audience members. We have also mentored and supported arts programs in area schools for children from grade school through high school.
Will we still be here in 5 years? ABSOLUTLEY! We will continue our successful production decisions that have kept us in the green for nearly 50 years, selecting shows that are appealing to a diverse public while balancing expenses and ticket prices.
As one member recently told us: “Thirty years ago I was cast in the Stage Crafters’ production of “Guys and Dolls”. Through that experience I developed a new appreciation of the arts and community theatre that I passed on to my children, who they in turn, passed their love of the arts to their children. And to this day we attend Stage Crafters’ shows as a family.” And that is a great example of why Stage Crafters Community Theatre is committed to continuing to bring this amazing art form to our community. An active community theatre should be part of any society that hopes to grow and prosper in business as well as culture, so please help save our home so we can continue to bring volunteer opportunities for the performing arts to Okaloosa and Walton County residents for the next 50 years!