How do we move from a stable organization to a sustainable one that can exist for years and decades to come? How do we address financial and space constraints that are limiting our growth? How do we diversify income streams to ensure long-term financial health while, at the same time, evolving our artistic strengths?
Over the past three years, Bag&Baggage has sought the counsel of a range of outside consultants to analyze our current status and advise us on how to reach our goals. The advice was unequivocal: Bag&Baggage needs to own and operate our own performance space.Why?
First, owning our own space gives us the chance to expand income streams like concessions, bar sales and rental income. For the past 8 seasons, Bag&Baggage has not seen any income from these traditional methods of generating income. Selling a glass of wine at intermission, renting the space to a local business for an event, and renting the space to a touring dance company – all of these are new ways of increasing our annual revenue which, in turn, will allow us to expand our staff, increase programming, improve production quality, and present a wider range of performing arts experiences for our community.
Second, owning our own space allows us to control our rehearsal and performance calendar in a way that has never been possible while at The Venetian. As the in-house company at The Venetian, we are in competition with other events for access; we simply cannot extend a successful run or count on consistent access to the theatre for rehearsals, given The Venetian’s need to rent the
space to other users. Owning and managing our own space will allow us to take full advantage of our seasonal calendar, enabling us to extend successful shows, schedule rehearsals and set construction, and plan for outside rentals and events.Third, we must condense all aspects of our operations. Currently, our administrative offices, rehearsal space, storage, shop space and performance space are all in different locations. Our recently purchased building allows us to bring our performance, rehearsal and office spaces together under one roof, streamlining our operations and lowering our annual costs for space.
Fourth, the new space will have a dramatic impact on the quality and intimacy of our performances. There will be improved backstage areas for our artists, a completely flexible and configurable seating scheme that will allow us to perform in a wide range of configurations, and new technologies that will create immersive digital environments that are both highly theatrical and environmentally sustainable.
Fifth, the building itself is an asset, one that will announce our presence in downtown and invite passersby to explore our space and discover the wide range of performance options available not only from Bag&Baggage but from all of our colleagues in Hillsboro.