A Blog Post from CLT's Executive Director
I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. I have a coffee maker at home and rarely use it because I like DD better. I also try to be frugal because as a single parent with a child in college and another on the way to college, I don’t often indulge myself – but coffee is a must. Every mornin g I have a “Medium- Hot- Regular cream and sugar”.
$2.68 5x a week = $13.40 4 weeks a month = $53.60
But when I think about it, let me be honest – I will grab a cup on weekends also, and if heading to the theater for meetings or rehearsals, I will also grab one, so maybe that 5x a week (including weekends and odd meetings and such) is really closer to 9x a week.
That would make me $24.12/week, $96.48/ month on average.
$1,157.76/ year. No, I’m not writing a blog post about Budgeting, or about breaking my caffeine addiction. I’m writing this blog because of CLT.
I don’t think it’s outrageous for me to say that I may well be the longest continually active member of CLT, having moved here at age 7 and both my parents dived right in, having done theater both professionally and non-professionally for their whole lives. As have I now, and my siblings. During CLT’s 75th Anniversary Gala I speculated that I may well have spent more of my life in the actual CLT building than I have at my own home!
I was a part of the Auburn Parks and Recreation Theater (A.P.A.R.T.) with our dearly loved Judy Walker for 5 years (8-13) – along with some of our best and brightest now. I also taught dance for Lois Camire for years and we did all of our recitals at CLT; I was the building manager for about 5 years as a part time job which meant I was the technician for all outside groups as far as lights and sound, and also had the privilege of cleaning the theater including shampooing rugs and scrubbing toilets and making sure everything was stocked and garbage taken out. When Judy retired from the APART program she handpicked me to follow her, and I continued it for 3 more years till the funding was cut. That was every day from 9am-12pm in summer. When he Summer Youth Theatre started, I was a part of that program until age 22, and we literally spent almost all free hours at the theater as we were responsible for teaching ourselves how to build sets, hang and focus lighting, make props and costumes. We simply lived at the theater. I can’t tell you how many things I missed in school, dances, events, trips, because I’d rather stay and run spotlight, or be in a show, or run props. The things you love are important and the time given doesn’t seem a hardship. As an adult, I have directed a dozen shows here, not counting at other theaters and schools, and have choreographed countless more. The point being, I know this building like the back of my hand. Even to the point of a final, late-nigh walk through of the building the night before the entire west wing was demolished. So CLT is in my blood.
What’s my point? We have the ability now to be recurring donors to CLT, and I am one. (ONE OF ONLY TWO, BTW). Yes, I am a recurring donor, but I realized the other day - quite uncomfortably:
I give more money to Dunkin Donuts in a year than I do to Community Little Theater, where I was raised and formed and where I have raised my own kids.
I have very mixed feelings about this building – as no one has more reason to be sentimental about it than I do, but I am not. CLT is not about this building and if (god forbid) the building was gone tomorrow no one truly thinks the group would disband in our 80th year, after going 60 of those years without a building of our own. I feel at this point, when I am honored to be acting Executive Director for now, that we are in thrall to the building. Our money concerns are no longer about making sure we have the money to produce the level of shows we want, but rather to keep the building standing over our heads. Our workshops on auditioning and stage craft have given way to Community Days where we work on keeping the building façade from crumbling or making sure the basement is up to building codes. There has to be a happy medium.
At the upcoming meeting on March 9 – we have members coming as well as patrons and sponsors, all are invited, and I’m going to put out a contribution basket. Not for HVAC or Community Days, not to go for heating oil or plowing, but for PROGRAMMING. I’d like to get some performers in for concerts and events who are willing to split the door proceeds. Anyone who wants to perform, open mike, trivia, spoken word, let’s do all of those things, charge $5 at the door, one night only for each so as not to interrupt rehearsals, and the proceeds go to future programming. I’m going to call this CLT Spotlight, Let’s see the Groover/McClure Family singers! Let’s see a Trivia night with Nathan White! Let’s see spoken word, open mic, and sing alongs. Toss me your ideas when you toss $5 into that basket ;-)
I’m also going to put out a plea for donors and recurring donors. ANY amount is helpful if you love CLT.
Honestly, I felt ashamed that I pledge more to Dunkin than to CLT.
So I’m going to both ask and challenge people to sign up as a monthly donor:
$10 a month automatically on your debit or credit card. $120 a year (for reference we average about 40 people at our meetings, if everyone gave only $10 per month we’d have an extra $5,000.)
While I’m trying to literally put my money where my mouth is (thanks Dunkin!) I’m asking others to join me in putting our money where our heart is: be a $10/month recurring donor with me.
See you Monday night!
Eileen M. Messina
Executive Director a L/A Community Little Theatre