TheatreWorks Silicon Valley asks help to raise $3 million by November to stay open

Zach Fuentes Image
Saturday, August 12, 2023
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley asks help to raise $3 million by November
Bay Area regional Tony Award-winning Silicon Valley TheatreWorks says it needs help to stay afloat.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area regional Tony Award-winning theater says it needs help to stay afloat.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley started in 1970. It has a steep history in the Bay Area and in the overall world of musical theatre, making productions that were eventually produced in theaters across the country.

2019 was one of its greatest years and 2020 was shaping up to be even better.

"We were just awarded the regional Tony, the highest honor in 2019," Executive Director Debbie Chinn, said, "Everything was on all cylinders, and then the pandemic hit."

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With that, the audiences disappeared and have been slow to come back.

"Our revenue is from ticket sales and from donations for the most part, and grants and contributions," Chinn said, "But that's it."

Now the organization is heading into a new season.

"We launch our season with a regional premiere called 'Mrs. Christie,' which is based loosely on Agatha Christie and the 11 days that she went missing," said Artistic Director Giovanna Sardelli.

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Still, both directors say the organization has a big financial shortfall due to the pandemic impacts that make the future of the new season and beyond uncertain.

However, they say the organization has a fighting chance if they get help from the community.

"We are asking for $3 million to be able to complete this season, which gets us off the ropes lets us fight another day," Sardelli said.

They're not the only local theatre organization that's faced hardship since the pandemic. Bay Area Children's Theatre in Oakland recently closed its doors after 19 years.

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"This is a national trend that we're seeing," Chinn said, "We're not immune to it."

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley launched a funding campaign to garner donations, each cent contributing to help recoup what it had before the pandemic.

"It's the first step to getting the season done and giving us a strong foundation on which to build and to reposition," Chinn said, "To rethink how we can come up with a new vision."

The goal is to raise the $3 million dollars by November.

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Chin and Sardelli remain optimistic that the community will remember or discover the important role TheatreWorks Silicon Valley plays in the Bay Area.

"If you've ever worked here, if you've ever been benefited from our education programs, if you've ever enjoyed a show," Sardelli said, "Now's your time to make sure that future generations have that same opportunity."

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