Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 19, 2012

Area leaders beat drum for Academy Theater membership drive

MEADVILLE — “It makes Meadville an even more attractive community for our students, faculty and staff,” says Kathy Roos, Allegheny College’s director of community relations.

“It’s a wonderful theatre and a great space to perform,” says Allison Palmiero-Brady, who serves with the French Creek Community Theater, a performance group for youngsters. “Getting kids on stage to showcase their talents is important.”

“It” is the Academy Theatre in downtown Meadville, and whether you see it as a key in marketing the community, an educational tool or a place to just have some fun, this institution wants — better yet, needs — your support.

In fact, building on recent membership campaigns that have set records, the Academy’s leadership recently embarked on its 2012-2013 membership drive with the hope of generating even more support.

“Membership constitutes about 25 percent of our annual revenues,” says Academy Theatre Foundation Board President John Hodges. “It’s a big component in keeping the theatre running.”

The 2012-2013 membership drive, according to the theatre’s website, reached 13 new members as of Tuesday, about 6.5 percent of the Academy’s 200-member goal.

Grants and general donations comprise another quarter or more of overall revenues while production income follows with a close 20 percent. The remaining difference, Hodges said, is made up through corporate sponsors. One of them is Allegheny.

“Allegheny College has a long-standing history of collaboration and support with the Academy Theatre and we’re grateful that the Academy provides such a great variety of programming,” says Roos.

The diversity of shows from comedies to concerts and musical dramas in between helps keep the Academy thriving, Hodges said.

Keeping a 127-year-old building attractive to the public eye, however, requires yearly maintenance funding to the tune of about $25,000 to $30,000, according to Hodges, who says almost all membership revenue funnels into constant upkeep, making it crucial to the Academy’s survival.

The theatre recognizes four categories of members based on donation sums, each with a set of unique membership benefits.

The Star category, for donations of $25 to $99, allows an Academy membership card good for $1 off four tickets. A $100 to $249 donation allots Academy members two tickets good for any production except the annual fundraiser.

Producer-class members, $250 to $499, receive four tickets good for any production except the annual fundraiser, while Marquee Circle members, $500 and above, receive a card good for six tickets with access to preferred seating and ticket pre-sales.

All members are invited to an appreciation reception and other exclusive events. Members also get their names listed in the lobby and production programs along with a subscription to the Academy E-newsletter.

Hodges reported membership increased from 150 to 225 in the last five years.

“It’s great to see the community providing support for the theatre,” he said. “This is the most members we’ve ever had.”

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