ADVOCATE FOR

#RubiconStrong #RubiconVital #RubiconforTomorrow #RubiconForever

For 25 years, Rubicon Theatre Company has served residents of Ventura and visitors to our area with first-rate innovative productions, student outreach programs, and special events –
world-class theatre with small-town hospitality.

As we look to the future, we want to ensure that future generations can experience the innumerable cultural, economic and educational benefits of having a not-for-profit professional theatre here in our region.


To do this, we need YOUR help!
Your VOICE and VOTE is important!

Please join us at Ventura’s City Council meeting next Tuesday for public comment and encourage our Councilmembers to support Rubicon’s proposal to help build a strong and bright future for the organization and the community!

Ventura City Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 4, 2024

5:00 p.m. Meeting
Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Arrive by 4:15 p.m. and look for a Rubicon Staff or Board Member – we’ll wear our name badges. We will assist you in filling out a Public Comment Card if you wish to speak, or just being a presence and adding your name in support. We will also have “I Heart Rubicon” signs. Public comments are all in the first hour, so you will be done by 6:00 p.m.

Let us know if you can join us by calling 805.667.2912, ext. 224,
OR sending an email to Karyl Lynn at klburns@rubicontheatre.org, or texting her at 805.407.7797

  • Are you a ticket buyer who has had special or memorable experiences watching a particular show or shows?
  • The parent of a young person who has been a part of the Rubicon summer youth program? A restauranteur in the downtown area that has a second seating on Rubicon show days?
  • A business owner whose employees like living in a city with diverse cultural offerings?
  • An actor or crew member who is professionally employed at the theatre?

Speak from your heart about why Rubicon matters to YOU.

If you need help with talking points, we are happy to brainstorm ideas with you!

Other Ways to Help

If you are unable to attend

And would like to submit public comments to City Council prior to the meeting for consideration and inclusion in the public records, please send an e-mail to this address: cityclerk@cityofventura.ca.gov.

Please also send a copy to council@cityofventura.ca.gov.

If you personally know one of the Council members
and would like to write them directly, click HERE to view their contact information.

Read on to learn more about Rubicon’s history, the specific nature of the request, and the City’s potential return on investment.

Background

In the fall of 1998, Rubicon Theatre Company opened with a concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar at Ventura Theatre featuring Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, and stars from Broadway and the film. The headline in the Ventura County Star read, “A Superstar is Born.”  The L.A. Times reviewer wrote, “Rubicon brings theatre in Ventura to a level of professionalism that so many of us have hoped for, for so long. The house will be forever packed.”

In the decades since, the board, staff and volunteers of Rubicon have worked to fulfill the company’s early promise, and for many years now, Rubicon has been the largest and oldest continuously operating not-for-profit performing arts organization based in the City of Ventura.

Rubicon’s mission is to serve residents of the City of Ventura and visitors to the region by providing innovative, first-rate professional enrichment, engagement and educational opportunities through the presentation of classic and contemporary comedies, dramas and musicals, including world premieres; outreach programs; concerts, festivals and other special events.

With an annual budget between $2.4 million to $3.2 million, and attendance of more than a half-million, Rubicon has a documented economic impact on the region that ranges from $5.3 – $22.4 million annually. (Sources: Cal State Channel Islands Economic Department and Theatre Communications Group).

Now in its 25th season, Rubicon Theatre Company has received national and international acclaim, bringing cultural opportunities to area residents, and honor and recognition to the City of Ventura as an important arts destination. Rubicon was the youngest company ever to win a Los Angeles (L.A.) Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play, Larger Theatre, and the first to win awards for Best Production of a Play and Best Production of a Musical in the same season. The company won a special award from the L.A. Drama Critics Circle for “Sustained Excellence” – the prestigious Margaret Harford Award, an Irish Times Award, two New York Drama Desk Awards, an NAACP Award, and has annually been voted Best Theatre Company in Ventura County by readers of both the Ventura County Reporter and the Ventura County Star.

The company has presented more than 165 mainstage productions to more than a half-million attendees. Most recently, Rubicon launched a Ventura Live variety series of concerts, comedy and magic that has had numerous sell-outs and further establishes the venue as a “community hub.” Rubicon also offers extensive outreach programs for young people, including four intensive summer camps, for which approximately 60% of students have received financial aid; after-school and weekend programs; intern opportunities; and more. Rubicon provides daytime student matinees at the theatre, and last year took a program into VUSD and OUSD schools related to In the Heights, which reached 5,200 students on campus. Students gave the program a 10 out of 10, the highest rating for any educational program in years. More than 52,000 students have participated in Rubicon programs through the years. In the process, they have become more confident, discovered how to collaborate and be a part of a team, learned how to think creatively, and gained empathy for others. Studies show that students involved in programs like Rubicon’s are far more likely to succeed in school and far less likely to become involved in criminal activity.

Rubicon is deeply engaged in the community and has partnered with other local non-profits to shed light on issues relevance to our times. Rubicon productions offer entertainment and escape, joy and laughter; they also offered insight into subjects such as racial and gender prejudice, homelessness, women’s rights, autism and mental health, etc. The organization is committed to IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and access) and these values are integrated into decisions including show selection, casting and strategic planning. Last season, 52% of artists contracts were individuals of color.

It is a rarity for a professional non-profit theatre of Rubicon’s size and stature to be present in a mid-sized community like Ventura. How did it happen here? In the early years, the company was primarily supported by a handful committed, visionary philanthropists. These gifts were supplemented by hundreds, and in some years, thousands of small-but-meaningful gifts from equally impassioned individual supporters – like the teacher who sent a $10 bill in an envelope with a tear-stained note, or the former student working on Broadway who wrote a check and sent a letter of gratitude about the value of her training in Ventura. Using Theatre Communications Group statistics (the national clearinghouse for not-for-profit theatre in the U.S.), when comparing Rubicon to other similar organizations, the company far exceeds other organizations with similar budgets in individual giving as a percentage of budget. However, Rubicon is behind the national average in giving from foundations, business supporters and, importantly, government. Through the City’s annual grants funding program, Rubicon has typically received anywhere from .2% to .5% of the company’s, ten times less than the national average.

As Rubicon rebuilds following the pandemic, and as some core supporters “age out,” Rubicon’s board and staff want to ensure that the organization is sustainable for future generations. Rebalancing funding sources is imperative to ensuring survival and sustainability. City support is an essential component.

Rubicon has remained a vital force for good in our community for 25 years, through two major recessions, the Thomas fire, and the recent pandemic. It is now time to look to the future and ensure that future generations can reap the cultural, economic and educational benefits of a local-based, fully professional theatre and event center. To do this, we need the help of our City Councilmembers and our devoted community members!

Rubicon is preparing to launch a three-phased capital and comprehensive campaign in order to achieve the following:

1. Renovate and upgrade the company’s home at Main and Laurel

2. Increasing the footprint to addressing security, safety, parking and accessibility concerns

3. Create a solid infrastructure, increasing staff and improving sytems, and

4. Build a reserve and endowment

Here’s the good news. This year, for the first time ever, Rubicon received a substantial commitment from the State of California which will provide a $1.5 million base for the first phase of the Capital and Comprehensive campaign ($6 million). Further, the County of Ventura made a one-time gift of $250,000 and has created an Arts and Culture Department and staff position that bodes well for the future. The supervisors have expressed their intent to create an annual granting program. These are big and valuable steps. Imagine what could happen with increased support from the City of Ventura!

We understand that this is a difficult budget year but hope the wise elected officials who run the City of Ventura will consider that Rubicon wants to be and can be a part of the solution. Without large support from the city, over 25 years, Rubicon has already generated $5.3 to $22.4 million annually. Increased support to Rubicon will result in increased reach, attendance and impact, resulting in a significant return on investment.

Please support the following requests to City Council on June 4:

1. A one-time pledge of $500,000 per year for three years for Phase I of a Capital and Comprehensive Campaign, matching the recent $1.5 million grant from the State of California. To further leverage the city’s investment, payment could be made annually contingent on an equal or greater amount in donor pledges to the campaign. In the early 2000’s, a $400,000 contribution was made to the Museum of Ventura County campaign with extremely positive results. The City of Ventura has also provided funding for Community Memorial Hospital’s Capital Campaign, and for economic development projects that will generate a return on investment, such as the Auto Center.

2. Line-item funding of $85,000 each year, which would represent 2.8 to 3.5% of Rubicon Theatre Company’s annual budget. For many years, the City of Ventura has provided line-item funding for the Museum of Ventura County, which is the largest and oldest visual arts organization based in the City. Rubicon is likewise the largest and oldest continually operating performing arts organization in the City of Ventura.

3. Increase Cultural Affairs Grant Budget to $180,000. Not for ourselves, but for our peers and for a healthy ecosystem, we request that the $90,000 in Cultural Affairs grant funds be doubled to $180,000 for next year. At one time in our city’s history, it was up to $250,000. If Rubicon receives line-item funding, we understand we would not be eligible for funding through this program, which would mean more for other emerging and mid-sized organizations.

4. Added Signage. Lastly, we request that the city work with other agencies related to in-town and highway signage for Ventura’s cultural district and specific cultural attractions, to increase awareness for local residents and to help guide visitors to venues.

If we as a group of committed board members (directors and advisors), staff, volunteer auxiliary, Jewel Club members, season subscribers, donors, parents, students and businesspeople come together, we can make this happen!

 

Questions?

Please call 805.407.7797 or contact our
Producing Artistic Director at klburns@rubicontheatre.org.

Thank you again for
your consideration.