A Note To Our Patrons and Supporters
Greetings to all patrons and supporters of Scripps Ranch Theatre! As we enter our 44th season, I wanted to share with you some of the accomplishments and challenges we experienced this past year. SRT faced a lot of uncertainty when we lifted the curtain on The Outsider last fall. An abbreviated Season 42 had provided a preview of the new theatre landscape, but many questions remained. Would our audiences continue to come back? Would donors continue to support us? Would grant money, which had helped sustain us during COVID, continue to come in? And, critically, would the new employment law passed just before the pandemic impact us as much as we feared it would?
During Season 43 we decided to test the waters with a normal five-show schedule, but ran each for just four weekends instead of our traditional five. As expected, we had taken a small loss during Season 42, and wanted to be cautious as we moved forward. In the end, overall ticket revenue for Season 43 was up, but it remained well below our last full pre-pandemic season. Offsetting that, donations were down substantially, and we remained viable largely due to strong grant revenue. For the year, we recorded another loss, this one much larger, primarily attributable to increased production costs.
So why did our costs go up so dramatically the past two seasons? The primary cause was Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect in 2020. You probably heard a lot about it at the time, as it directly targeted Uber, Lyft, and other “gig” workers. In short, AB5 requires many companies to treat individuals who previously worked as independent contractors as employees. This includes theatres, particularly smaller non-union companies like SRT. Where we formerly paid our actors a fixed contract amount, we are now required to onboard them as employees, pay them an hourly rate, and cover the costs of payroll fees and taxes. And as we all know, it takes a lot of hours to put on a successful show! As a result, our annual personnel costs have tripled.
Despite these fiscal challenges, I consider the 2022-23 season to have been a great success. Our shows were well-staged, well-reviewed and well-attended. We made the decision to commit to the Legler-Benbough Theatre as our home, and made a substantial investment in the physical space. We built a new box office, refurbished the lobby, and upgraded the sound and lighting booth. No more techs climbing past the audience! We also held a successful in-person fundraiser, the Speakeasy Soiree, which raised more than $20,000. Finally, we strengthened our relationships with two local theatre companies, Oceanside and Loud Fridge, by partnering with them on two productions.
As we approach Season 44, challenges remain, but none that we cannot overcome with the support of patrons like you! In an effort to balance our budget and continue bringing you the incredible theatre you have come to know and love, we have slightly increased our ticket prices and are returning to a four-show schedule. In addition, we will be staging primarily small-cast plays, capping our rehearsal hours, reducing the number of musicals produced, and collaborating with other local theatres. These shifts, however, do not minimize SRT’s need to increase our contributed income. As an organization that relies on individual contributions for 70% of our annual revenue, I urge you to consider making a personal donation of any amount. SRT has been an important part of our community since 1978. Let’s work together to make sure our legacy remains for at least another 45 years!
Please click here to see the fantastic lineup we have planned for you, make a tax-deductible donation, and purchase a season subscription.
Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you at the theater!
President, Scripps Ranch Theatre Board of Directors