CAPE TOWN - Performing arts centre the Baxter Theatre is likely to only reopen in early 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, that's according to theatre CEO Lara Foot.
The centre, which is not funded by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, says it has been severely impacted by the current pandemic and is calling on the support of the public to keep its doors open after the pandemic comes to an end, the theatre has said in a statement.
Unlike the Artscape Theatre Centre, the Market and other state theatres that are supported by the government, the theatre also doesn’t qualify for funding from the National Lottery Commission.
According to Foot, a few weeks prior to the pandemic, she met with the vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town on the sustainability of the Baxter Theatre, as well as discussing a way forward to becoming far less dependent on the funding from the university.
Foot added that the university allocates the centre a grant of approximately one-third of its annual operational expenses. The rest of the theatre's expenses are paid from its annual income, which includes ticket sales, donations, theatre rentals and interest on the theatre’s Permanent Endowment Fund.
“We are the most active theatre in the country, presenting over 3,000 performances a year, with a growing international reputation. We are also the most diverse theatre in the country, when it comes to programming and audience members,” Foot said.
“We do this with a small and dedicated staff, all of us working two or three portfolios at the same time. Our staff complement is half the size of any similar-size theatres in the country,” Foot said.
Meanwhile, theatre management says that its production fund is separate to its operational fund, and that the CEO has to raise funds for each separately.
Foot also says that it is extremely difficult in these times to find a sizable annual grant from any individual or business.
Furthermore, the CEO said that they did not envisage that the theatre would be able to operate optimally until early 2021.
“We have to raise R5 million to get through this year. The Baxter’s very existence depends on this amount,” Foot said.
The Baxter said in a statement it would like theatre patrons to consider the following:
* Contributing R30 a month to the Baxter Theatre, or R360 per year.
* Helping it to reach 30 000 contributors by sharing this letter with friends and family and to champion this on behalf of The Baxter.
Should you wish to make a more substantial donation, we are able to provide you with a section 18A tax certificate. In this instance, please email me.
We need to accumulate the 30 000 donors over the next year. This would amount to approximately R10 800 000 per year and below is how the money will be allocated.
To raise R5 000 000 to get through this year, the Baxter’s allocation would be as follows:
* R 6 800 000 - To become self-sustainable and not lean so heavily on the university in order to ensure the future of our theatre. This is an urgent priority.
* R 4 000 000 – To be invested into our Permanent Endowment Fund, to generate interest on those fund.
We would provide full transparency to all of you, our contributors.
Our deepest wish is that as a Baxter friend, you will assist in growing the number of our contributors.
Should you decide to sign up for the “cup of coffee”, please let us know when you have done so by email.
Donate by debit/credit card
You can pay online via debit/credit card here: http://www.baxter.co.za/buy-baxter-cup-coffee. Or make use of our banking details below.
Donate by EFT or Stop Order
Account Name: UCT Baxter Theatre Centre Deposit Account
Bank: Standard Bank
Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ