Happy Holidays to all. We have had a wonderful year at My Entertainment World, and the My Theatre Boston Division is thriving. We are so fortunate to have reviewed some wonderful works this year, and we look forward to many others in 2014. Stay tuned for our My Theatre Awards; this year, for the time ever, Boston has its own categories, which means more local nominations, more local winners!
To that end, we would like to encourage our readers to do something for our many Boston theatres. Specifically, in addition to your continued attendance, I hope you will consider giving to Boston theatres as part of your year-end giving. U.S. taxpayers may claim a deduction on their tax returns for charitable contributions to qualifying Section 501(c)(3) organizations. Most, if not all, of the theatre companies that we review are Section 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. This designation means they are tax-exempt organizations, and, therefore, you may qualify for a deduction of 50% of the amount that you contribute to these organizations. For more information, click here.
Besides an itemized deduction, what else can you get from contributing to Boston theatre? Well, many theatre companies acknowledge their patrons in their programs and newsletter. Often, these donors are the first to hear about upcoming programs and events. The companies may also offer these givers first chance to buy or attend special performances. Some companies also offer incidental, one-of-a-kind items, such as a signed playbill or cast photo, for their donors. Such recognition and gifts are some of the ways that theatre companies thank and appreciate their patrons.
Additionally, for all theatre companies, no amount is too small. While most companies list $25 and above for their recommended donations, they also give donors the opportunity to “write-in” a contribution, allowing donors to customize their gifts to suit their giving capabilities and needs. Such flexibility allows interested audience members and local supporters of the arts to extend their gratitude for local theatre in individual and meaningful ways. Think that you can forego that morning coffee for a week? That’s probably $10 that you could contribute to support a local theatre production. Can you stay home on a Friday night, instead of spending $5-10 on a club cover charge and another $10 to $40 on drinks? That’s another $15 to $50 that you could contribute to help subsidize the costs for local theatre.
What does charitable giving to Boston non-profit theatres really mean for you? It means most exciting shows and seasons. It means more Equity performers on Boston stages working with Boston-grown actors. It means more local playwrights producing award-winning new plays. It means the opportunity to see Boston premieres soon after they hit the New York City stages. It means cheaper ticket prices, better venues, and more impressive productions. It means that actors, directors, technicians, designers, and staff, and many more involved in making theatre come alive, can be adequately paid for their contributions.
Finally, why should keeping Boston theatre alive be important to you? While movie tickets have sky-rocketed, a ticket to a theatrical production has remained mostly consistent. Boston theatre offers tickets to classic and new, award-winning shows for a fraction of the cost of a Broadway show with some of the same talent. Next time you see a show in Boston, read the program. You will notice that many of these actors have trained at some of the best theatre schools in the world, some of them right here in Boston. These actors have appeared on Broadway, with national touring companies, and won accolades for their works. These performers work tirelessly to produce and perform interesting, thought-provoking, and entertaining works for local audiences. And that affects the local community. Many of these actors and staff members engage other local non-profits; volunteer their time and efforts to social and political causes; and promote change within our communities. Art allows us to see not simply how life is, but life could be. Nothing can replace the dialogue after a truly intriguing performance, filled with nuances and more answers than questions about the lives we lead. For that, we must continue to support local theatre, to keep asking those questions in a public forum, especially the questions of local interest.
I hope you will consider donating to support local theatre. Listed below, please find some of the many Boston theatre companies worthy of your contributions. As a reviewer and patron of the arts, I have no financial incentive in writing this piece, and I have no affiliation with any of the companies. While the list is comprehensive, the list is in no ways exhaustive. Feel free to comment below if you have an additional Boston favorite theatre company which deserves our financial support!
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