As COVID-19 continues to ravage the country, its effects on the arts have been devastating. Many organizations have turned to creative ways to raise funds in an effort to offset losses from canceled seasons. One such is Virginia’s Reston Community Players, who have now teamed up with a large number of notable community theaters in the DMV area to produce Community Theatre Thrives!, a first-of-its-kind telethon. This streamed virtual fundraiser will help raise crucial funds for the theaters involved, and hopefully keep them afloat during this uncertain time for the entertainment industry.
The telethon seeks to raise awareness of the incredible passion, talent, generosity, and dedication of the volunteers who make community theater possible. “Theater companies throughout our area have been hit hard by the pandemic, with some companies having to cancel productions mere hours before opening night,” says Jolene Vettese, president of Reston Community Players. “These companies operate with the time and talents of thousands of volunteers to produce hundreds of high-quality shows each year. We thought a live streamed telethon would be a wonderful way to come together virtually, share the talent of the area, and help ensure that community theater continues to thrive in the capital region for years to come. We need theater in our communities, and right now, community theater needs us.”
Community theaters are essential for developing and showcasing the incredible creativity of the region—but most companies operate on shoestring budgets, and a majority are nonprofit entities with artistic and socially focused mission statements. Companies have strived to make performances affordable and accessible to everyone, keeping ticket prices low—but they already rely on donations to stay afloat. Now, without the ability to produce live performances, critical revenue from ticket sales has dried up, and organizations are desperate.
This event, set for the evening of July 17 and all day on the 18, will stream on the Community Theatre Thrives! website and on YouTube. Fourteen organizations from around the greater DC region will participate, and viewers will be treated to one-time-only performances and unique messages from company members. The telethon will also feature the voices of prominent members in the local industry. Donations will be accepted online and by phone at 833-615-0922—and you can find complete details about the event on the Community Theatre Thrives! website. The full list of companies participating is below.
- Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre – Annapolis, MD
- The Arlington Players – Arlington, VA
- The City of Fairfax Theatre Company – Fairfax, VA
- The Colonial Players of Annapolis – Annapolis, MD
- The Hard Bargain Players – Accokeek, MD
- Kensington Arts Theatre – Kensington, MD
- Laurel Mill Playhouse – Laurel, MD
- Port Tobacco Players – La Plata, MD
- Prince William Little Theatre – Manassas, VA
- Reston Community Players – Reston, VA
- Rockville Little Theatre – Rockville, MD
- Sterling Playmakers – Sterling, VA
- Silver Spring Stage – Silver Spring, MD
- Victorian Lyric Opera Company – Rockville, MD
Tax-deductible contributions can be made at the above website links, or tune in live to the telethon.