Welcome to this new departure for not only for Springfield Contemporary Theatre, but also myself. So why might you ask does someone working in New York take a year off from his life to return to Springfield, Missouri to help helm a small Midwestern theatre company? The answer to such a question is multi-faceted and honestly wouldn’t interest most people. So at some point, we’ll cross that bridge and address that question. For now let’s address what I’m doing now that I have returned to Missouri. This will likely cover several entries.

Let’s start with the basics…there are many who still have the question, “What is Springfield Contemporary Theatre? And what happened to our beloved/adored/despised/(insert your own adjective) Vandivort Center Theatre?” Well, here’s the important thing to know. Nothing has happened to the Vandivort Center Theatre. It’s still on Walnut Street in downtown Springfield where you remember it being for the past 15 years. (Can you believe it’s already been fifteen years?!?!?) Here’s the scoop though. A new non-profit producing umbrella called Springfield Contemporary Theatre has been formed as the producing organization behind the Vandivort Center Theatre.

Why, pray tell, would such a producing organization be necessary you might ask? To put it in the simplest way possible, the cost of producing theatre has gone up. This is a phenomena that theaters everywhere are facing. From the rent for our facilities to the licensing fees we have to pay to present the shows we put on to the cost of building materials used in the sets on stage. It’s all going up. Well, in a basic business model, what do you do when the costs of production go up? Well, you raise the prices you charge for your product or service. If our ticket prices truly reflected the increasing cost of doing business, our tickets would be selling for around $30-$32. In most cities to see a show at a theatre our size, this is the price you would likely pay for a ticket. However, we understand that our patrons are not used to paying this much to see live theatre and we want live theatre to remain an integral part of their lives.

So how do we make that happen? Well, there is only so much belt tightening that can be done. So now we’re on to the next stage. By creating a not-for-profit umbrella to produce the shows we put on stage, other doors open up to us to locate the necessary funding to keep presenting quality theatre for our amazingly low prices. Truly, we are able to cover 60-70% of our production and operating expenses through ticket sales and consumer revenue. It will still take other forms of funding to be able to cover the remaining balance and continue the caliber work we have done over the past 15 years.

So that’s what this season is all about for us. An internal restructuring as it were. From the outside, I know our patrons will continue to see the great theatre they’ve come to expect at the Vandivort. Honestly, this season we have the opportunity to blow our patrons away by raising the bar from the work we’ve done in the past. Though behind the scenes we will be working hard to build a framework that will help secure the organization in order that it can be around for many, many seasons to come.

So what can you expect in this blog…I think this is going to be a great chance to look behind the curtain. We’re going to explore what goes into making an organization such as this tick. I will likely talk about ideas that are in the works. How we get a production from early planning to the stage. We’ll take a look back at some of the theatre’s greatest moments and people. Hopefully through your feedback we will figure out exactly and specifically what has made us great in the past so that we make sure not to loose any of those wonderful qualities as we continue to be leaders in the local Springfield theatre community.

I think we have some interesting ground to cover this year… tune in. Let us know what you’re thinking. We are making something great here.