617-426-0863 (ext. 6)
All's Well That Ends Well performances are free
·Rent or bring a chair - rentals $7 + $3 deposit
·Reserve a spot close to the stage click here
Parking Boston Common Garage
·Bring a blanket to sit on
CSC's 6th Annual Gala
Saturday, April 5, 2014 6:00 p.m.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston
Despite the Bard’s advice to “neither a borrower nor a lender be,” the Hub’s premier Shakespeare company is staging its first significant campaign to attract corporate sponsors.
“The reason we’ve decided to look for major sponsors now is that the financial climate is improving and corporations are no longer choosing between sponsorships and layoffs,” Steven Maler, artistic director of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, told the Herald. “Corporate leaders in Boston care about the arts, and this is the perfect opportunity for a corporation to invest in something that the mayor, the governor and members of our audience support.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino applauds the theater group’s effort.
“The mayor has always supported Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, because it provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to experience the cultural works of some of the best performers of our city free of charge,” said Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce. “It’s a tradition that should continue.”
Founded in 1996, the nonprofit theater company that produces Shakespeare on the Common every summer began with four corporate backers and a $65,000 budget for four shows. Today, CSC is a $700,000 troupe with a staff that swells to about 70 in the summer and performs for more than 100,000 people during a three-week run.
“It’s a very lean and efficient operation,” said Maler. “Shows are free, paid for in a variety of ways now, but the cost breaks down to about $7 per person. You can’t even go to the movies for that any more.”
Commonwealth Shakespeare gets money now from foundations and benefactors.
“Our largest single donor is $50,000, and the rest come in smaller amounts,” said Maler. “It’s hard to raise the money we need in $1,000 donations each year. We’re looking for more stability and a chance to expand as we move toward our 20th year.”
The nonprofit also raises a portion of its budget at performances by “passing the hat,” selling merchandise, renting chairs, selling some reserved seats up front and partnering with parking and other vendors.
In addition to the free shows on the Boston Common — which kick off July 25 next summer with a production that will be announced today — the company runs an eight-week academy to train actors and teachers in theater arts. Its “Tour the Parks” productions bring free performances to the city’s neighborhoods. A First Night presentation, Shakespeare and the Law — or this year, Shakespeare and Leadership — events and presentations of classic American plays at the Calderwood Pavilion, which have brought actors such as Rutina Wesley of TV’s “True Blood” to the Hub, keep CSC busy during the off-season.
Commonwealth Shakespeare is entertaining a range of possibilities for sponsorships. For the Common shows, which also feature pre-performance jazz concerts by New England Conservatory students, the theater company is hoping for a multi-year presenting sponsorship deal in the low six figures, Maler said.
“I think we’re on par with the Fourth of July fireworks or ‘The Nutcracker,’ ” he added. “When I think of ‘The Nutcracker,’ I think of State Street. We’re hoping for that kind of deep association and relationship.”