We are just about to complete six weeks in the campaign to save Wayside Theatre. It has been a real roller coaster ride. We are just shy of raising $60,000, which means we've had an average of about $10,000 a week in donations come in. Thank you to those who have stepped up so far. We've obviously got a ways to go. There's momentum building towards the Town Hall meeting this Wednesday, February 20 at 6:30pm. We hope we have great attendance and encourage you to attend. We plan on answering questions about this fix we're in and the steps we're taking to fix it. It should be an important night.
While there is some momentum, and we keep getting wonderful offers of support from folks like the artist Loretta Bailey and children from all over, I have to say that I'm only cautiously optimistic that we're going to meet our goals. Why the caution?
Try as we might, we can't talk to every person who has questions or frustrations. Those who care enough to ask us tough questions get straight answers. And in just about every case that has helped us gain some new support. Don't assume after reading that last sentence that I mean to say that others don't care. I don't. Many do care but are unable to help at this time. But there are some out there who are spending time talking amongst themselves about Wayside Theatre's financial problems and choosing not to engage with us. Those closed conversations ask the questions we're ready to answer, but assume answers that aren't real. I guess on some level it is easier, and perhaps entertaining, to complain and guess than it is to actually spend the time to get to the truth.
How do we know this is going on? Well, others who do choose to engage relate those conversations to us. This is already a difficult challenge and as we've said many times these questions aren't easy ones to answer. The challenge is made more difficult when we have to break through improper assumptions and information. The challenge is made impossible when folks don't give us the chance to engage before making assumptions.
To a certain extent that is just human nature doing its thing, so don't read this as complaining. Instead, read this as yet another set of invitations. If you've stepped up and joined the team, know we value your support and invite, encourage, and ask you to help us not only spread the word, but help get others involved. Invite them to attend the Town Hall meeting or call or write us. If you are sitting on the fence, or know someone who is, please know that we're willing to talk with you about your frustrations or uncertainty. We won't pretend we'll change everyone's mind. But we do know that the chance we have to try is right now. We're offering that chance and want you to take us up on it. Help us not miss this chance by choosing to talk with us.
I was asked by an audience member attending last night's show what happens if we don't meet our goals. I told them what we've said all along. Wayside Theatre closes. They responded that they didn't want this to happen and donated $20 to the cause. Doing some quick math after the show last night, I I realized that if half of our 20,000 patrons who came to Wayside Theatre last year donated $20 each, we would have raised $200,000. With grants and other funding efforts that would put us over our $250,000 goal for long term sustainability.
That simple math solution sounds so simple it almost seems unreal. But it could be attainable with your help and your willingness to engage in discussion with us.
Come see Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming. Come talk to us before the show, during intermission, or after. Come to the Town Hall Meeting. I certainly hope you take us up on this offer to talk. The time is now to do so.