An Open Letter to Our Subscribers and Ticket Buyers
We were in the midst of rehearsals for John Cariani’s Almost, Maine when the pandemic hit. The set was on the stage and we were getting ready to move into tech when we heard the news. Like many, we thought we were looking at a delay of a week or two. Weeks stretched into months.
We worked feverishly to find creative ways to fulfill mission and provide some cheer – producing the Rubicon Goes Retro Drive-In Series at the Fairgrounds, running the Front Row for the Frontlines program, streaming events like Voices of America and Estella Scrooge, sharing interviews, and offering summer youth programs on Zoom.
During this time, many theatre companies across the nation asked their subscribers to donate the value of their tickets for future events. We understood from a business perspective why they were making the “ask”. With the future unknown, they (and we) had spent a considerable portion of subscription income on non-refundable show licenses, deposits, season marketing, etc. Carrying deferred income can also be a negative with grantors and outside funders.
Our staff and board decided not to go this route initially. At first it was optimism, and perhaps naiveté, as we hoped then the pandemic would end quickly. What weighed most heavily on us as we thought it through was concern for our relationship with our community. We felt that if you chose and paid for specific shows that you should get them. Our bond of trust with you matters to us – it has always been an organizational priority.
So we pressed on. With minimal ticket income during the pandemic, and donations down as a reflection of reduced programming and the losses some of our donors and friends experienced, we knew we would face some difficult days.
They came, and we are deeply grateful for those of you who have helped sustain the organization during this time.
As Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, “What’s past is prologue.” And as we prepare for a new chapter in Rubicon history, we have rethought our position related to subscriptions and season, and humbly come to you to ask you to consider donating your ticket purchases.
Here are the main reasons for this decision:
THE PASSAGE OF TIME. The weeks that stretched into months have now stretched into more than a year, and in order to address union and government safety requirements, it is likely that we will have been shut down for 18-24 months before we can reopen. To fulfill the announced shows would put us at least a year-and-a-half behind financially.
OUR WORLD HAS CHANGED. If we were to select shows and programs today to inspire meaningful conversation about the human condition, we would program differently.
It’s not that you won’t see some of the shows you had previously selected. We remain committed to diverse programming – classic and contemporary productions of dramas, comedies and musicals, including world premieres. But those prior selections will likely be sprinkled between shows more relevant to our times and spread over multiple years.
We come to you now because of our relationship to ask you to give us a shot at starting up again without carrying the unanticipated debt related to Covid-19.
We wish we could say that this is the panacea; it’s not. If every subscriber donates their subscription dollars, we will still need to raise the capital to bring back staff and produce a new set of shows through subscriptions and sponsorships. And we will also need to come to our friends in the community for help with the costs of the government and union requirements mentioned above.
What your subscription donation will do is eliminate the debt and get us to “ground zero” – the place from which we will begin to write this new chapter in theatre history in Ventura. It will let us know that there’s a community of people who are with us in the endeavor, and who cherish the experiences we’ve shared in this hallowed space at Main and Laurel for over 23 years. Nothing is more valuable to us than your faith and support.
To forgive the amount paid for your tickets, CLICK HERE. It’s a simple process and we will send you a donation letter as an acknowledgement for your tax records.
If you’d like to help us prepare to open our doors in other ways, we welcome your help!
CLICK HERE to learn more. Or feel free to call Beverly Ward, our Director of Outreach, or me, at (805) 667-2912, ext. 280 or ext. 224, respectively.
Thank you for your consideration. Again, it means so much to us to be a vital part of this region and this cultural community.
Karyl Lynn Burns
Co-Founder/Producing Artistic Director
P.S. If you have additional questions, CLICK HERE for answers. Or feel free to call us at either of the numbers above.