Northern Sky Theater has announced the Rekindle Campaign, a sustainability fundraising campaign aimed at keeping the popular Door County theater solvent through mid-2022. As of the public announcement of the Rekindle Campaign in late October, Northern Sky had already raised more than half of its $1.75 million fundraising goal.
“Our supporters have been just astonishing in their eagerness to help us weather this storm,” said Northern Sky Development Director Holly Feldman. “Every day I’m bowled over by another act of generosity. Folks really are helping us ‘rekindle’ the Northern Sky flames.”
The single largest part of Northern Sky’s budget—revenue from shows in the Peninsula State Park amphitheater and the brand-new Gould Theater—was entirely eliminated by the Covid-19 pandemic. While Northern Sky hopes to return to in-person programming in 2021, theater administration is planning conservatively for the year ahead on the assumption that safety concerns, external restrictions (from the DNR as well as the actors’ union), and audience hesitation will dampen ticket revenue.
“We had projected 2020 ticket revenue at $1.4 million,” said Managing Director Dave Maier. “And we feel it’s only responsible to assume that the ongoing pandemic will continue to have a major impact on our finances throughout 2021. In short, $1.75 million is the amount of money that will ensure our financial solvency through to opening day 2022.”
Despite the financial wallop of the pandemic, Northern Sky has retained its entire year-round staff. That staff presence has allowed the company to keep its creative fires burning in 2020, launching a robust season of virtual programming that they plan to continue throughout the winter and spring. That virtual season has allowed Northern Sky to employ (at least in limited fashion) a few of the 63 performers, designers, and crew members whose contracts were canceled in 2020—amounting to a loss of more than $500,000 in company wages.
“One of the hardest things about this pandemic has been reckoning with the way we know our company members, many of whom work for us year after year after year, are struggling under the burden of lost income,” said Associate Artistic Director Molly Rhode. “We miss those folks, and we want nothing more than to employ them again—one more reason we want to return as soon as possible to a full-strength company.”
All donations Northern Sky receives through 2021 will count to Northern Sky’s $1.75 million Rekindle Campaign goal. As part of the Rekindle Campaign effort, Northern Sky will host “Home for the Holidays: Wherever You Are” on December 12, a daylong virtual celebration complete with live online company appearances, a premiere holiday concert featuring unreleased archival content, and a virtual Artist Marketplace supporting Northern Sky company members as well as the theater itself.
To learn more about the Rekindle Campaign, or to contribute, please visit www.RekindleNorthernSky.com.