Inspiring Audiences Since 1924
2021 Annual Appeal
We need your support more than ever to Stay in it for the Long Haul!
Gathering together to experience live performances or on-screen offerings is the heart and soul of what we do here at The Colonial; delivering cultural experiences that connect us to one another, contribute to the region’s economy and inspire our community to action. In a normal year, The Colonial’s impact would look something like this:
- Nearly 7,000 kids from 120 schools would participate in a curriculum-based performance or outreach activity – nearly 1,000 attending for free.
- Our Community Scholarship programs would provide free access to a live performance for nearly 250 low-to-moderate income seniors and families.
- More than 50,000 patrons would experience a variety of engaging and inspiring live events and film.
- Our programming would generate roughly $4.5 million in direct and indirect spending in our local creative economy.
However, on March 14, 2020, the entire performing arts touring industry came to a screeching halt. Almost overnight venues across the nation closed their doors. Thousands of performers, staff, tech crews and workers in support service industries found themselves unemployed.
The Colonial core staff and board have worked tirelessly since then, curating virtual entertainment options, maintaining our presence as a beacon of inspiration and culture and investigating every option available to address the immense financial and logistical challenges.
And that hasn’t kept us from pursuing our strategic vision to transform this beloved 96-year-old theatre into a revitalized, 21st century performing arts center. Despite the pandemic, and with the support of friends like you, we’ve succeeded in meeting two of our major goals:
of a second venue, SHOWROOM
Completing plans for renovation
of the historic Main Stage.
Throughout the last eleven months, our primary focus has remained unchanged – take the necessary actions to see us through this crisis, and re-emerge even stronger on the other side. But, like many nonprofit organizations, we need your help.
that will help us continue to
stay in it for the long haul.
We look forward to a time when we are allowed and fully prepared to welcome you through our doors at full capacity. When that day comes, it will be our pleasure to once again provide you with exceptional performances and share in the uniquely life-affirming experience of live performing arts.
Thank you, & best wishes for a healthy and happy 2021!
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Message from the Executive Director
Dear Members, Patrons and Friends,
In March of 2019, the entire performing arts touring industry came to a screeching halt. Almost overnight, thousands of performers, venues, staff, tech crews and support service industries found themselves unemployed. For a sense of scale, the concert industry alone is projected to lose as much as $9 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Colonial staff has remained busier than ever throughout this tumultuous time. Working from home, we have been making a great effort to reschedule events, engage with patrons, performers, agents, sponsors and volunteers. Our overarching concern continues to be the health and safety of our patrons, employees, volunteers, performers and the community we serve.
In an effort to prepare and set a course for the eventual reopening of The Colonial we have been working closely with our fellow major NH historic theaters and providing recommendations to the Governor’s Re-Opening Task Force. The painful truth for performing arts organizations like The Colonial is that we were the first businesses to close and will likely be the last to reopen. It remains unclear exactly when and under what conditions the reopening will occur but we look forward to sharing the news with you, our patrons and members as soon as we know more.
While we remain excited about developing a lineup of shows for 2021-22, in order to bring you the next season we must successfully manage the critical economic consequences of our current reality. We are exhausting every option available to alleviate some of the serious financial losses we are experiencing. As painful as it is to do so, this has included furloughing some of the talented professionals on The Colonial team. Depending on the duration of the shutdown, additional layoffs may become necessary in order to come through this crisis and re-emerge on the other side.
Throughout this unprecedented upheaval The Colonial has turned to its core values for guidance and inspiration. Values that have come to the forefront in light of the crisis include our deep-seated commitment to the cultural and economic health of our community and our pledge to improve and preserve our unique, historic Theatre for the benefit of generations to come. With these principles informing our decisions, we remain confident that our audiences, performers, employees and volunteers will have a place to return to in the future.
We look forward to a time when we are allowed and fully prepared to reopen. When that day comes, it will be our pleasure to once again provide you with exceptional performances and share the uniquely life-affirming experience of live performing arts.
Until then, we miss you all.