February 17, 2017
What would happen to Bag & Baggage if the Venetian Theatre closed or was sold has been an ever-present, deep concern for the company and our board.
Three years ago we embarked on the most ambitious campaign in the company’s history; buying the former Wells Fargo building on 4th & Main, and raising money to turn it into the company’s permanent home. This accomplishment would forever eliminate the concern of the Venetian closing or selling. And we almost made it.
In spite of all our due diligence, meticulous planning, the success of the capital campaign, and just 3 months before the end of our season, we have been informed that the Venetian Theatre is under a pending sale AND, at this time, there is no guarantee the venue will remain open long enough to complete our 2016-2017 season there. The facts are as follows:
- The pending sale of the Venetian Theatre will be finalized at some point on or after March 1, 2017.
- There is no indication of the new owner’s plans for the venue, i.e. to continue to operate or even re-open the Venetian in time for our final show of the season, Noises Off, which has been scheduled for May.
- We have urgently and exhaustively searched for an alternate venue within Washington County to mount the show, to no avail.
- The financial risk of moving forward with the last play, Noises Off, at the Venetian is too great without a 100% guarantee that the venue will be available.
Therefore, it is with great sadness and deep disappointment, that I write to announce the cancellation of Noises Off, the final show of our 2016-2017 Season due to the lack of an available performance venue.
SAVING OUR FUTURE
This was not an easy decision, as you can imagine. But I am unwilling to risk the future of Bag&Baggage on a roll of the dice that The Venetian might be open for our final show. It just isn’t worth it – it isn’t worth risking all of our hard work, donations to the capital campaign, and our future in our brand new home, on “a chance.” I hope you can understand why.
We will be reaching out to our season subscribers, donors, and ticket holders individually to discuss your options. You will be contacted by Arianne, our Patron Services Manager, within the coming days, or you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the box office at 503.345.9590 if you have questions.
I want to be 100% clear: the cancellation of Noises Off was made to save our future. But there will still be impacts on us this year.
Noises Off was expected to be our most successful show EVER, and ticket sales from Noises Off were earmarked to get us through the balance of the season. The combined impact of canceling Noises Off and moving Brontë to the much smaller Hillsboro Library will likely leave Bag&Baggage with an operating loss of nearly $85,000, and a major cash flow crunch. For a company that has never operated at a deficit in the past 12 years, $85,000 is a terrifying number. For the first time in our history we are looking at staff layoffs, salary reductions, and cutbacks in other essential costs. Without donations from our devoted patrons we will end the year with a significant deficit and start the new season in the new building on precarious ground.
I know we have come to you time and again to support the capital campaign, so I understand if you are experiencing what we in the business call “donor fatigue.” However, if you are able to make a contribution to our Operating deficit at this time…well, it would really really help us out. You can do so online at bagnbaggage.org/support-us.
It’s true: the nightmare we have worried about for years has become a reality. But there is good news in all of this. With your generous support, at a time when it will have a far-reaching, significant effect, Bag&Baggage will not only survive, we will thrive in our new home.
Updates and information will be posted regularly on our website at bagnbaggage.org. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support Bag&Baggage Productions.
Together we are going to make it, I promise.
Scott Palmer, Founding Artistic Director