BSP needs your help

Section: 
Letter

Bluewater Summer Playhouse (BSP) was founded 24 years ago as a Kincardine tourist attraction and remains the only professional theatre in Bruce County.

From the beginning, we have shared thousands of performances with our community. However, our impact goes well beyond individual performances. We have employed over 60 summer students over the years; this provides local students, who have a passion for theatre, an opportunity to learn from theatre professionals and earn important summer income. We also operate a summer drama camp for up to 50 youth aged 6-12 years per year. This helps our local youth develop live performance skills, confidence and a love of the arts.

We attract an audience from across southwestern Ontario, the United States and abroad. Approximately half of our audience come from outside Kincardine. We know many come early to shop and have dinner in Lakeside Downtown Kincardine before attending our performances - something our restaurant owners confirm. Studies have shown that a majority of Canadians believe live theatre is important to their community, that it attracts visitors and that the average Ontario Arts and Culture tourist will spend twice as much as a typical tourist per trip.

Recently, we approached council about forgiving some rent arrears that have accumulated over a few years. We have seen increased competition for fund-raising dollars as well as for community and arts/culture grants. In this era of Youtube and Netflix, attendance for some plays has suffered. All of this contributed to these rental arrears. While council recently declined the request to forgive the arrears, it did agree to allow repayment of past due rent over a five-year period.

We want our community to know that we remain firmly focused on success. As a non-profit, arts organization, it is always a balancing act between budgets and affordable ticket prices. We have, however, fine-tuned our budget so every dollar goes farther. Our administrator donates the majority of her time and is implementing new ways to promote our program. We have adjusted our mix of performances to maximize attendance. We are seeing results. Our 2017 ticket sales have been stronger than many previous years, reflecting the work we have done to ensure long-term viability of our theatre.

Now we urgently need your help! These rent arrears are a threat to our plans. We are asking that 150 people invest in a $100 membership so we can rapidly pay out the rent arrears. Each membership entitles you to two tickets to any performance plus a $50 tax receipt, or a $100 tax receipt if you prefer. If interested, please contact the Box Office at 519-396-5722  (weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or you can make online payments at www.helpbsp.com.

Thank you for helping us continue to attract visitors to our downtown and supporting youth and arts in our community. Most of all, thank you for helping us keep professional theatre vibrant in Kincardine and Bruce County.

Sincerely,

Marilyn Clarke

Administrator Bluewater Summer Playhouse

Bluewater Summer Playhouse