Our theaters may have been empty for nearly 10 months now, but our hearts are full of gratitude to our theater family here in the Valley. Here at Fountain Hills Theater, we have stood together to weather the storm that was 2020. I know you’ve felt the impact of this pandemic. We all have. It has had a major impact on the performing arts and it’s been estimated that nearly 15,000 arts organizations across the country will close by 2021.
But here at FHT, we have certainly stood by the motto “the show must go on” this past year. We quickly moved to a digital entertainment platform. We kept our patrons engaged with our weekly Broadway Quarantine Cabaret series which featured some of the best talent from across the valley, direct from their homes, as well as special visits with the Emmy-award winning star of NBC’’s Days of Lives, Eric Martsolf, and Tony Award winner Kelly O’Hara; as well as many special guests from Broadway! All of this plus our Theater Roundtable Discussions, and our Sneak Peek shows that take a look at what is coming up next here at FHT. But we longed for LIVE performances once again, so, just outside our theater doors, we opened the first of its’ kind BROADWAY DRIVE-IN THEATER, and followed that up with our DRIVE-IN CONCERT SERIES. We then were planning our summer camps and workshops and we quickly re-configured them to work within CDC safety guidelines and we spent many weeks this summer celebrating the arts with the young people of our area- while maintaining a safe and, fun environment.
This past November we excitedly debuted our new Outdoor Theater which features full stage productions, contactless ticketing, socially distanced seating, outdoor heaters to keep you warm, as well as parking spots with a view of the stage for those wanting an extra level of safety. Our outdoor concession stand provides treats, FHT swag, and Hot drinks to keep you warm! We are proud of everything our staff has accomplished during this tough year, and a big thanks to all of our patrons who have joined us on this journey.
Fountain Hills Theater doesn’t receive financial help from the town or the state of Arizona. We make up a portion of our budget with grants from local and national organizations, like The Virginia G Piper Charitable Trust and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, as well as the generous support of long-time show sponsors, local businesses and amazingly generous individual donors and supporters like yourself. The reality is, more than half of our annual budget is sustained by ticket sales alone. This past year, in 2020, we’ve had to cancel more than 10 of our planned productions. Our FHT 2020 Recovery Fund campaign has helped us stay alive this past year and we have been very careful with the spending of our “emergency funds” but they are dwindling due to the long-term effects of this pandemic, and they will need to be replenished so we can fully open once again safely in 2021.
I am here today to ask for your help. The reality is, we will not survive without it. The funds that you will help provide will help us navigate our way towards re-opening. They will allow us to implement important safety protocols for our patrons, volunteers, and staff. Talented actors from our Fountain Hills Youth Theater and our main stage productions are waiting in the wings in hopes of a return to the stage. Our FHT 2020 Recovery Fund is our path to returning to live performances inside of our theaters in 2021.
Remember this is only intermission. I promise you that the curtain will rise once again at Fountain Hills Theater. But we need your help. Please consider supporting your home town theater with a tax-deductible donation of any size, large or small. Every dollar has an impact on our survival. And from the bottom of all of our hearts here at Fountain Hills Theater, we say… THANK YOU…and here’s to a bright and successful 2021!