Almost two years ago, I, along with theater leaders around the world, had to stop producing in-person performances. It was heartbreaking for me to close our doors, but it also gave me an opportunity to use the time to reflect on what Plowshares has accomplished and to think about the next phase of growth and artistic direction for our work. The company lost around 87% of its self-generated income during 2020-2021. That was a significant hit to our operating budget. Instead of fearing what the future would bring I chose to reexamine our work, and how we serve both artists and audiences. My objective became clear: Plowshares would return to the stage a much stronger organization than it was before the shutdown. I believe we achieved that in three very important ways:
We’ve redefined our mission.
The events of 2020 have shown us that representation matters. Providing a stage for those who never had one and a platform for those who need one has never been more important. With the help of my Board, I have refocused Plowshares toward preserving and presenting African American experiences that challenges minds and builds community. You will see this reflected in all of our programming.
Our community has grown and given generously.
Our work has reached new audiences here as well as all over the world. The live-streamed presentation of Lee Edward Colston’s new play “Roost,” the “Lift Ev’ry Voice” series, and our virtual concert of five songs from an original musical, “Hastings Street” were huge hits. Each of these programs has helped us cultivate an audience of over 20,000 unique viewers across several online platforms.
During this time, donor gifts have both inspired me and given me pause as to the generosity of friends near and far who believe in the work of Plowshares, and how important it is that we do this work here, in Detroit. We’re leaning into that conversation and growing our fundraising efforts and donor base with solid results.
Plowshares saw an opportunity and came together with three other Black Theatre leaders to develop The Black Seed, the first-ever national strategic plan of significant impact for Black Theatres. Now serving on the National Advisory Council of the Black Seed, we are representing nearly 100 organizations just like Plowshares addressing issues of sustainability and growth.
Will you join our mission to bring new stories, told by black storytellers, to the stage?
Now I’m ready to return to the stage in 2022. Serving you and our artists is the motivation. This reopening will be highlighted by the in-person, world premiere of HASTINGS STREET, an original musical created by Detroiters for Detroiters, this July 2022.
Your year-end gift can make that possible. Please consider supporting this work. Our successful efforts to raise $300,000 before June 2022 will help some 45 actors, 5 playwrights, and the directors, designers, and musicians that bring the work to life throughout the 2022-2023 Season. Your gift will ensure we will continue to change lives through the unique experience of Black Theatre.
Please consider a gift today.
Thank you so much again for your continued support of Plowshares Theatre. From our family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy Holiday Season and New Year!