Dear Peterborough Players Family,
It is not an overstatement to say that theatres in this country are in a perilous time. It seems like every week I hear of another closure. The 20+ year old Triad Stage in North Carolina, 46-year-old San Diego Repertory Theatre, 56-year-old Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and 33-year-old Book It Theatre in Seattle are among the 30+ regional theatres that have closed in the last 18 months.
Why are so many theatres closing, and what can we do to prevent it from happening to our beloved Peterborough Players? Unsurprisingly, a lot stems from the pandemic. Most U.S. theatres are non-profits operating on extremely thin margins in the best of times. The forced closures sent many into financial crises, only partially propped up by federal relief funds. Those resources are gone, and audiences have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, expenses have been skyrocketing. Material costs continue to rise at alarming rates, and the very structure of how theatres operate is evolving. For decades, theatres have often produced at the expense of the people creating the shows, who have routinely been asked to work extremely long, grueling hours for very little or no pay. How can theatre as an institution survive if the very people who create it can’t pay their own bills?
The Players have been driving progress in the field, adjusting our production schedules to create a more sustainable model that prioritizes the welfare of our artists, technicians, and staff. We are at the forefront of the industry, demonstrating that it is possible to produce beautiful, engaging, entertaining theatre without exploiting the people who create it.
As we celebrate our 90th year, our existence can’t be taken for granted. Our wonderful Artistic Director Tom Frey and I have over 30 years of love and respect for the Peterborough Players and the Monadnock Region between us. We know the importance of our playhouse to the community and the theatre world at large. We are ready to meet the moment and lead the Players into the next 90 years. But those of us at the end of Hadley Road can’t do it without your help. Can you make a tax deductible donation now to help ensure we’re here to serve the Monadnock region for years to come?
What would Our Town be without the Peterborough Players? We are integral members of the region and a source of art and community. But with ticket sales covering less than 30% of our expenses, we need your support. To help us continue to grow and evolve, expanding our offerings and season with special one-night events, more programming for children, including our new Players Junior classes, exciting new plays, engaging talkbacks, and so much more.
Please don’t delay. We need your support now, before we are in crisis. We all have different means, but as you are deciding how much you will donate, please think about all the theatres that are closing across the country and what that means for those communities: the loss of local business, culture, and art. The shared experience of live theatre is powerful. Help us preserve it.
As I am writing this letter, we are getting ready for opening night of our second show, and the energy in the air is absolutely electric. Theatre is the ultimate team sport - we only succeed when we all work together. That’s when the real magic happens! Please join us in our goal to remain on the leading edge of theatres in this country and being a vital part of the Monadnock Region for years to come.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and generous contribution at whatever level is right for you. I hope to see you in the Barn on Hadley Road very soon.
Director of Production