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December 2020 Update – State of the Theatre

December 2020 Update – State of the Theatre

December 2020

Dear MYACT families, friends, and community supporters:

We are writing to provide an update and status on our theatre operations.  

2020 started out normally with high expectations for a full year of productions, events, and growth.   Our first production “Catch A Falling Spy”, an original story set to contemporary music, was going to be our launch pad for another great season of shows.   Due to COVID-19 we were forced to cease performances and all operations in mid-March after only one weekend.

For the next several weeks we struggled, as did much of our community, to figure out how it would be allowable, safe, and feasible to continue operations.  It soon became evident that the entire 2020 season of productions and other events would likely need to be put on hold and then ultimately cancelled.  Summer Camp, Paint Nights, Fall and Winter productions and other revenue generating events we had planned were all ultimately cancelled

There are three areas we would like to update you on.  

FINANCES (1)

We began the year with about $12,000 in our accounts.  The 2020 operating budget established at the beginning of the year was approximately $50,000.  Of that amount, $26,000 was for production expenses like music rights, sets, costuming, director stipends, and other related items.  $24,000 was allocated to non-discretionary expenses; those expenses we must pay regardless of whether we use the theatre or not.  For example,  building rent, liability insurance, electricity, and miscellaneous building maintenance.

Over the years our main source of revenue has been ticket sales, tuition for summer camp, and various fundraising events.  As mentioned above Catch A Falling Spy was forced to close after only a weekend and we lost money due to having to cancel two weekends of shows.  Without our normal source of revenue we have been able to stay afloat in part due to the generosity of so many of you and your ongoing support. Since April we’ve raised over $6,000 through cash donations, fundraising events like food delivery, and our yard sales. 

In late November we were awarded $6,721.00 through the Tuolumne Count Small Business and Private Nonprofit Assistance Grant Program.  This grant came just in time!  Otherwise we would have run out of money by the end of January.  This grant increases our cash on hand to $10,532 which will be enough to cover our expenses through April 2021.

With the uncertainty of when we will be able to begin theatre operations and start generating revenue from tickets sales and theatre programs we will continue our fundraising efforts in an effort to operate beyond April. (2)

THEATRE LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors

In 2019 we had a vision for 2020 where MYACT would grow artistically and organizationally and expand operations to begin moving up to “the next level”.  2020 turned out to be a year nobody expected. Since April 2020 our primary focus has been on ensuring we can maintain the theatre financially until we can once again begin normal or close to normal operations. 

Looking towards 2021 that vision remains in our sights.  We are seeking additional board members who can provide leadership in specific areas of theatre operations, fundraising, marketing, and community outreach.  Board members are typically also part of sub-committees with specific objectives like marketing activities, social media advertising, fundraising, building maintenance, production, etc.   The full Board meets once every two months (currently via Zoom) and meetings are typically two hours long.   In those meetings specific assignments and activities are assigned to individual members or committees.   Committees meet on an as needed basis to achieve annual goals and specific objectives and outcomes.  If you are interested in learning more you can contact Jessica Shapiro, Board President at (209) 743-5833 or Mike Morales, Treasurer at 925-337-3600. 

We will also be holding virtual informational meetings to provide more information to interested parties and to answer questions.  Those virtual meetings will be announced in the near future.

Junior Advisory Board

The Board of Directors recognizes the value the youth of our theatre family and community bring to the table.   We want to incorporate those voices into the development and growth of MYACT.  Therefore we will be establishing a Junior Teen Advisory Board beginning in 2021.  This group, comprised of youth between the ages of 12 and 18, will meet once a month to discuss issues related to Mountain Youth and Community Theatre. Under the direction of a board member the group will discuss and create proposals to present to the main board on everything from potential performance ideas to fundraising, community outreach, and overall youth involvement.  Besides the value we expect this group to bring to the theatre we also believe the members will  learn about effective communication, conflict resolution, leadership, and everything it takes to run a theatre during and in between shows.  If any youth are  interested in participating they can email mountainyouthact@gmail.com to express their interest.  

We will also be planning virtual informational meetings to provide more information to interested parties and to answer questions.  Those virtual meetings will be announced in the near future.

2021

While there is still uncertainty about the coming year we are optimistic that we will be able to resume some level of operations, hopefully by Spring or Summer.   In the coming weeks we will begin preparing, as we do each year, for the new year of productions and events.  We are hopeful that we will be able to put up at least two youth productions, summer camp, and one community production.  We also hope to resume the popular paint nights as well as introducing some new educational programs centered around theatre.  We will continue to provide updates to you and the general community through email, our Facebook Pages (https://www.facebook.com/mountainyouthact and https://www.facebook.com/groups/116581809037741) , and our website (https://mountainyouthact.com).

Thank you for your ongoing support.  We hope to see you in 2021. 

Meanwhile, please feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, the Youth Advisory Board, or just have questions or ideas.  

With deep appreciation,

MYACT Board of Directors

  • Jessica Shapiro, President
  • Kandas Wright, Vice-President
  • Bonnie Bettencourt, Secretary
  • Mike Morales, Treasurer
  • Jessica Miranda Rhoades, Member At Large
  • Erin Santoro, Member At Large

 (1) For a complete accounting of our 2020 Operating Budget and Expenses please contact Mike Morales at 925-337-3600 mike@goldenk.net.

(2) Mountain Youth and Community Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Our non-profit identification number is 11-3797591

MYACT Mission Statement: This corporation has been formed for public purposes, to foster educational opportunities for children and adults of all ages in the performing arts, with a specific focus on theater, music, dance, voice and other arts.

MYACT Statement, May 24, 2020

MYACT Statement, May 24, 2020

Like many organizations in our community Mountain Youth and Community Theatre has been greatly impacted by the on going situation with the global Covid – 19 pandemic. We have every hope and expectation to come back to you as strong as ever when we are allowed to re-open in the ways we have operated in the past. Unfortunately we are not able to host our flagship summer camp program this year. Summer camp is what our program grew from, it is also how we earn much of operating costs for the year. We believe we can overcome the temporary shut down and come back with a new found strength within a stronger community. In order for this to be possible we are continuing to explore fundraising methods and performance opportunities that allow us to keep working on our Mission Statement.

How can you help? Please take part in and/or enjoy our online Entertainment Extravaganzas, the next one will be available on Facebook or YouTube on May 29th at 6pm, free for all to watch Donations greatly appreciated.

Look for our songs of summer presentation June 27th, tickets information and advertising opportunities to come. In July we will be holding a yard sale fundraiser please look for more information to contribute or purchase at that event. Be on the look out for our next MYACT Food Delivery fundraiser which both supports local business and raises funds for the theatre.

We are working on some alternate plans for summer camp, this would not look like our normal summer camp but instead small group activities. As soon as we have more information and the go ahead to proceed under current regulations we will announce more information.

Continue to let us know what you’d like to see from us and how’d you’d like to help us.

Mountain Youth and Community Theatre is only as strong as our community of families that participate and our community of patrons who support what we do. If you are able at this time please consider a donation.

We are down but we are not out!

Thank you from the MYACT Family

Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on MYACT

Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on MYACT

After significant consideration and deliberation the MYACT Board of Directors has decided to cancel the remaining performances of “Catch A Falling Spy”.

This was a very hard conclusion to come to after all the hard work of our cast, crew, and volunteers over the past few months.  This show had two casts with the second cast scheduled to perform this coming weekend March 20th, 21st, and 22nd.   It is especially disappointing that those cast members will be unable to deliver their performances.

As difficult a decision it was for the board to cancel the remaining performances it is never difficult to put the health and safety of our theatre family and surrounding community first.  In light of the recent increase of various coronavirus (COVID-19) containment measures we feel that it is in the best interest of all to suspend public use of the theatre until further notice. 

We will continue to take our guidance from the CDC, state, and local officials and act accordingly with our activities and decisions.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for all the hard work of everyone involved with Catch A Falling Spy.  And, as importantly, our apologies to those cast members who will not be able to perform this time around.  We are very disappointed we will not be able to see you shine! 

Throughout the past couple of weeks we have heard that wonderful theatre saying from many, “the show must go on”.  And it will.   Like our local communities, state, and nation MYACT as an entity and MYACT as a group of community members are dedicated and resilient.  So yes, MYACT will be singing, acting, and dancing again just as soon as possible.

Please use the usual methods for staying in touch with us during this “hiatus”.  During this period we will be looking for fun and creative ways to collaborate with our theatre family.  We will be reaching out separately to anyone who purchased advance tickets to provide them with options for refunds, exchanges, or deferrals.

Be well and be safe,

MYACT Board of Directors

The Wonders Of Disney and Theatre

The Wonders Of Disney and Theatre

– Guest Blogger: Jessica Shapiro

I remember taking my daughter to Disneyland when she was five. It was a big deal and we had one day. So we got there just after opening and we stayed until 10pm. Every turn throughout the day was sprinkled with pixie dust. We met princesses, we rode in ships through the air, we saw it’s a small world all dressed up for the holidays, and right before closing we stayed for fireworks.  As the fireworks display finished, it began to snow on Main Street.  I saw the glimmer in my daughter’s eyes and I know in my heart that Disney is magic. 

I clearly remember the emotional impact of that day and honestly it has only ever been matched by my experiences with theatre.

This last weekend at MYACT, I saw the wonders of Disney and Theatre come together, though not for the first time (but that is a tale for another day). 

MYACT’s Night of Disney, was the brain child of my daughter. That same 5 year old who is now a bright and talented 15 year old thought it would be fun to do a concert of Disney material.  “Boy oh Boy” Was she right! (You have to hear it in Mickey’s voice for the full effect).

I got to facilitate in wonderful performers from 5 to adult bringing their love and their passions to the stage.  I was privileged to see our Dancers shine, in tap, ballet, and lyrical performances. What a sight for the whole ensemble to participate in several numbers on limited rehearsal time.  Showcasing their individual personalities was such a joy.  Among my favorite moments, Tina and Alissa leading Supercalifra…. (even though they had to spell it in the song, I am not quite as talented), Leyla taking on “How Far I’ll Go,” with only a week’s notice, with a super sweet assist from Lize, and breakout performances from some of our littles, Sophie and Whalen, with their respective takes on Frozen. Though I only mentioned a few they all were bright stars and I am thankful for and impressed by every single one of them.

Watching these kids and adults bring to life moments of Disney magic had me welling up with excitement.  We had young ones in the audience dancing in the aisles, wanting to see more, wanting to skip intermission or dance their way through intermission to become the show, and we had kids and parents become believers in the magic of Disney and the magic of Community Theatre.

Everything we do takes at the Theatre requires a large community of support. So I just would like to take a minute to thank our tech help helmed by Kyla and Kandas, with assists from Amanda and Anni. All the parents who participated by getting your kids to rehearsals and having them practice at home, it is not possible without that support.  Huge kudos to my dancers who took the brunt of the workload for this show, additionally helping to choreograph some of their own performances. Special mention to Cierra for the work she did and the one on one Tap lessons she gave to one of our newer tappers, that’s the theatre spirit for sure! None of this would have happened without the choreography, mentoring and teaching from Janae. Who I have had the pleasure to watch grow from theatre kid to amazing adult and person I am pleased to call friend.   Finally thank you to Alissa for that twinkle in her eye at 5 and her vision for doing this show, the work she put in to choreography, and spreading the magic to all.

 

Death Takes A Holiday

Death Takes A Holiday

Our last show of the season, Death Takes a Holiday the Musical! A dark comedy musical with minor adult themes. Rated PG (Jr. cast show for all ages).

Synopsis: After years of questioning why people fear him, Death takes on human form for three days so that he can mingle among mortals and find an answer. He finds a host in Duke Lambert after revealing himself and his intentions to the Duke, and takes up temporary residence in the Duke’s villa. However, events soon spiral out of control as Death falls in love with the beautiful young Grazia As he does so, Duke Lambert, the father of Grazia’s mortal lover Corrado, begs him to give Grazia up and leave her among the living. Death must decide whether to seek his own happiness, or sacrifice it so that Grazia may live.

Directed by Brandon Russell
Music Director Chala Scholkowfsky
Choreography Janae Perkins
Tech Director Kyla Lee Meyer Hatler
Costumes Erin Santoro
Props Kimberlie Holman

Opening night is December 7th at 7:30pm, coupled with a catered Gala. Dress in your best roaring 20’s attire! We want to bring in the new 20’s with style! There will be wine and beer served at the Gala for 21 and over and dinner before the show. Tickets are $50 per person for the event and include a ticket to the show. Raffle, silent auction, entertainment, and such will be at the Gala! We hope to see you there!

Performance dates Community Cast: December 7th, 13th, 14th, and 15th 

Performance Dates Youth Cast: December 8th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd 

Tickets on sale now in the ticket at https://thelittleboxoffice.com/myact, for more information please message our Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/mountainyouthact/ or contact us at mountainyouthact@gmail.com.

Summer Camp 2019

Summer Camp 2019

2019 Summer Camp.  

Camp was conducted from July 1st through August 2nd. 34 students participated in camp which met daily from 12:30 to 4:00.  A primary focus of this corner stone program is theatre education and enrichment where students receive instruction and guidance for acting, singing, and dancing.  But, camp is also about coming together as a community, meeting new people with similar interests, and above all having fun! AND, camp is about putting on a great show to highlight the student talents and skills developed and refined during camp.

This year’s show was Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr.  Students performed for over 700 audience members during the two weekend run in August. Many roles were double cast so that more students could have an opportunity to shine in lead or supporting roles.  The audience’s enthusiasm and applause during performances is always a welcome sight and sound for cast members and production staff alike and this year was no different!

MYACT’s Board of Directors is committed to providing opportunities for community members of all ages under a variety of circumstances.   The Board was pleased to have awarded four scholarships to students who would not have been able to participate in camp without this financial assistance.   The word “community” in the name Mountain Youth and Community Theatre is not lost on this Board!

As you know or can imagine, it takes competent and committed leaders to run a summer camp or a musical theatre endeavor.  We were lucky this year to have the following Camp leaders and production staff:

  • Director – Amie Riggs
  • Musical Director – Lauren Brasesco *
  • Choreographers – Janae Perkins and Gracen Harvey *
  • Stage Managers – Sabrina Jensen * and Gin Oellrich

* MYACT Youth Alumni

Reflections on camp from the Director, Amie Riggs:

“Working with the kids this summer was an incredible learning experience. As a first time director, I learned just as much as some of the kids in camp. I was so proud of each performer. It was also great to see how things work behind the scenes at a community theatre. It takes a village to put on a production and to see friends, parents, grandparents and board members all come together to help out was wonderful. The kids really loved acting. They would come up to me each day and ask if we were going to be focusing the day on blocking.  They also loved the ritual of doing warmups before each performance. With any group of kids and teens there is bound to be disagreement.  But I was lucky to work with students who were committed to creating a supportive community for one another. On the first day of camp we all sat down and let the students help make rules. They included anything from “use the stairs to get on/off the stage” to “no bullying or cliques.”  Everyone, including the summer camp staff, signed the list of rules to indicate that we would all follow the rules to make camp fun and safe for everyone. Directing isn’t always easy, but in the end all our hard work paid off.”

Thanks to the production staff, students, family and friends, and community volunteers for helping to make this year’s Summer Camp a great success!

Cost Of Running A Theatre

Cost Of Running A Theatre

The Legalese 

MYACT is a 501(c)3 organization formed for public purposes, to foster educational opportunities for children and adults of all ages in the performing arts, with a specific focus on theater, music, dance, voice and other arts.

The Practical Benefits 

MYACT provides opportunities for children, youth and adults in our community to become involved in the arts. Our organization brings people together in enriching classes, recitals and full performances. Our flagship program, Summer Hideout, started in 2004 with 13 students. Since then over 500 youth and adults have participated in various programs and productions. During that same time over 5000 audience members have experienced and enjoyed MYACT community musical theatre productions.

Some History

In 2012, after eight years of using temporary rehearsal spaces and renting various auditoriums for performances, MYACT acquired a warehouse building on Cuesta Court in Sonora (off Tuolumne Road) and turned it into permanent rehearsal, learning, and performance space.

MYACT generally produces four shows per year and would like to increase that number to provide additional opportunities – for youth and adult participants – and to establish a greater presence in the community.

The Cost of Running a Theatre

It takes money to run a theatre and related programs. MYACT’s annual operating expenses range from $25,000 to $30,000 per year. Approximately 80% of the funds to pay those expenses come from ticket sales, summer camp tuition, and sales of concessions.

However, MYACT relies heavily on donations, fund raisers and grants to fund the balance of annual expenses.

Over the years, the community has generously supported us but like any non-profit organization we are constantly in need of more donations, especially as we expand the operation to greater levels.  

Estimated 2019 Expenses

Rent & Utilities $14, 400 
Show Rights $8,000
Set Materials $2,500
Costumes $1,500
Ongoing Theatre Maintenance (Paint touch ups, equipment repair, basic supplies, etc.) $2,000
Liability Insurance $4,200
Paid positions and or stipends vary based on the production.  As an example, the Summer Camp stipends run up to $2,000.  
 
If you made it this far down this article then perhaps you would consider a donation or sponsorship.   In most cases (please check with your tax accountant) donations and sponsorships are tax deductible.