The deficit probably doesn’t have to exist at all, if one thing was different: Donations.
Across the nation professional regional theaters raise their budgets from an even split between ticket sales and donations, mainly from subscribers and patrons. So the national average is 50/50. In Rochester the percentage of donations is only 20%.
It’s no wonder GEVA has to struggle and make cuts; and it’s a shame. Besides being a tremendously important cultural component of our community, helping to make Rochester a sophisticated, desirable place to live, GEVA provides jobs. The biggest “competitor” to GEVA is the Rochester Broadway Theater League but there is no comparison in relative value to Greater Rochester.
GEVA employs actors, directors, designers, technicians, marketing & public relations people, bartenders, ticket managers, and more. GEVA is a local artistic employer. It should not suffer financially in this community.
Unfortunately for GEVA Rochester’s population is largely provincial. Frankly, many residents think of GEVA in the same way as they think of a movie theater- buy a ticket and forget about it; it’ll be there next time. Many Rochesterians don’t understand the matrix of arts, quality of life, and the ability of a city to attract new businesses and population. Like a good sports profile, the arts are a significant way that a city’s image and desirability is measured. As an arts organization it relies on the community to support it with donations.
That is a fact understood around the rest of the country. GEVA has worked hard the last few years spreading this message. They have increased patron donations by 18% but have a long way to go to reach the 50% mark.
So Rochester, if you believe this is a good town because it is a cultural town, please support GEVA. Buy tickets and attend a show…then give a donation.