Would you trade one coffee trip each month for free and accessible theatre for everyone in Ontario?
The idea we’d like to present is pretty simple. Inspired by the incredible efforts of Highland Arts Theatre in Nova Scotia (look them up; what they’ve accomplished is amazing), Driftwood Theatre is proposing a idea which allow us to make all of our programming, including the Bard’s Bus Tour, absolutely free for everyone in Ontario.
No more tickets. No more paid admission to any Driftwood production. Just free theatre experiences for everyone to enjoy.
And it comes at the expense of a trip to your favourite coffee shop once a month.
Most people enjoy a regular cup of java. Your daily trip to the coffee shop might include a specialty coffee and maybe you’ll pick up a muffin or snack while you’re there. Maybe you’re buying for two? In any case, you’ll likely spend about $10. Spread out over the course of a month, that’s about 34 cents per day.
That’s pocket change.
But for Driftwood, that change could have a very big impact.
If even half of our typical audience in a season donated $10 a month, Driftwood would have the funding required to make all of its work available for free. For everybody.
Wouldn’t that be cool?
Well, to be honest, producing theatre in the manner we have been (Pay What You Can Admission for summer shows) isn’t working. As the cost of producing professional, touring theatre has risen steadily, Driftwood’s earned revenue hasn’t increased significantly in over ten years. Our productions are getting smaller and all of the artists, technicians and staff who work to tell incredible stories are barely making minimum wage.
Every year is a struggle to make ends meet. And that’s just not sustainable.
While the world has been in a state of ‘pause’ over the last two years, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking. We’ve been having some important conversations about what we value and how we’d like to see Driftwood grow and thrive in the future.
For us, this is an exciting path forward with significant benefits for everyone. It’s about community coming together to make something available for everyone.
How Would It Work?
Well, as I mentioned above, it’s pretty simple. Driftwood Theatre would build monthly benchmarks or tiers, similar to those popular in ‘Go Fund Me’ campaigns. When a tier of monthly giving is reached, we’ll be able to offer certain programming for free.
At the lowest tier, we would offer things like free public readings of new plays developed by your Playwrights Unit. At the highest tier everything we produce, including a six-week Bard’s Bus Tour to communities across South Ontario, would be absolutely free.
Donors would receive a charitable tax receipt and recognition of their gift. Those who donate $10/month or more would access advanced reserved seating for all performances.
And everyone who contributes can be proud in the knowledge that they’ve helped to make a BIG CHANGE in their community: making theatre accessible to anyone by eliminating the most significant barrier to experiencing live performance: cost.
How Can I Help?
Well, we’re still gathering information and listening to our closest supporters (that’s you) about your thoughts and reactions to this big idea.
Right now, it’s most important that we get your feedback. Once we’ve heard from you, we’ll know what route to take moving forward and when we do, we’ll be in touch again. At that point, we hope you’ll help to spread the news far and wide and champion free theatre for everyone in Ontario by making a monthly pledge and encouraging others to do the same.
If you would like to know more about Driftwood’s BIG CHANGE proposal, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email at email@example.com.
Jeremy Smith, Artistic Director