It is a new year with many new creative possibilities, and yet many arts organizations and arts venues are struggling to survive.
SNB performs regularly each year at the Pioneer Center; at the Reno Little Theater; at the Carson Community Center; at the Brewery Arts Center, and as part of the Artown Festival and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.
All these organizations report significant losses between March of 2020 and now but remain positive and determined that 2021 will be a better year for the arts.
The Reno Little Theater had to shut down in the middle of their 85th Season and lost three main stage productions, their Spring Break Camp, Summer Break Camp, two Broadway Our Way productions and many more productions with their partner organizations including Latino ARTE, Ageless Repertory Theatre and Sierra Nevada Ballet. They report a revenue loss of half a million dollars which resulted in furloughing 4 out of 5 of their full-time staff positions as of July 1st, 2020 (bringing them back only on a project-by-project basis). They hope to open their doors again in the late Spring of 2021.
The Artown Festival managed to present virtual presentations in 2020, but performances were down by 50%, and they report a loss of grant funding, corporate funding and government funding as well as ticket sales, and they were unable to bring in their usual summer intern staff. They plan to hold their Festival in July, 2021.
The Pioneer Center For The Performing Arts was unable to present 69 live productions and reports a loss of $860,000 in revenue for the past fiscal year, and for the current fiscal year, they anticipate additional lost revenue of almost $2 million from cancelled and/or delayed shows. They were able to keep their staff in 2020 but will have to make staff changes in 2021. They hope to open in very late 2021 or early 2022.
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival cancelled 49 main stage and Showcase Series performances, as well as 10 Young Shakespeare performances and lost over $2.1 million in earned revenue in 2020. Due to operating reserves, they have been able to keep their staff. They plan to open their 2021 Season in July, 2021.
As far as what the future will bring in the way of productions, none of these organizations know for certain. All of them usually plan programming at least a year ahead, but this year that is simply not possible.
RLT plans to continue virtual performances; Artown plans on holding outdoor performances with social distancing; the Pioneer Center plans to offer livestreaming or on-demand content, and the LTSF is hoping to present their full season this summer, mirroring the cancelled 2020 season (including the two main stage productions and the Showcase Series partnering with the Reno Philharmonic, the Reno Jazz Orchestra, Trails & Vistas and Sierra Nevada Ballet).
Despite all of the uncertainty, there is a great deal of optimism within these organizations.
Artown’s Beth MacMillan said: ”During July 2020, Artown presented a very beautiful and accessible festival. Artown and the arts provided healing and united us in many unique ways while reminding us all of our shared humanity. We cannot wait to gather with everyone outdoors and be immersed in live performance!”
The Pioneer Center Board and Staff shared a similar sentiment: “We are mindful of the important place the Pioneer holds in our community as an entertainment venue, a gathering place, an economic generator, a historic property and a beloved tradition, and we look forward to welcoming all back through its doors as soon as possible.”
Bob Taylor of LTSF agrees :“The entire Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival family is anxious and excited to return to normal operations next summer.”
Melissa Taylor of RLT expressed it beautifully for all of us in the arts: “We’re working tirelessly to find ways to create and connect with our community – it just looks a little different right now. And we’re so grateful for the many ways our community members have reached out to say “we need you to survive,” whether through donations or direct messages. It means the world to us and enables us to keep “fighting the good fight.” So, we’re humbled, grateful and inspired to keep at it.”
We at SNB are grateful to have survived thus far and to have such wonderful venues in which to perform and such fine organizations with which to collaborate. We are looking forward to presenting Brew, Brats and Ballet at the Reno Little Theater and the Brewery Arts Center in May, 2021 and to performing at the Pioneer Center and as part of the Artown and Lake Tahoe Festivals in the summer. 2021 is going to be a bright and innovative year for the arts in our community!