Strategic Plan 2015/18
Arden Theatre Company 2015/18 Strategic Plan - Table of Contents 1 – Overview i. Mission ii. Values iii. Vision iv. Environmental Assessment v. Executive Summary of Strategic Goal and objectives
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2 – Artistic Programs
3 – Education Programs
4 – Audience Development
5 – Fundraising
6 – Facilities
7 – Governance and Administration
8 – Financial
9 – Addendum
Arden Theatre Company
MISSION Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers—on the stage, in the classroom, and in the community. Great stories on the stage: We produce a wide range of stories in a variety of styles: classic and contemporary, intimate and epic, fiction and nonfiction, musical and dramatic. Producing the great playwrights allows us to measure ourselves against the masters of our craft, while sharing the voices of new writers gives us the opportunity to shape the future of American theatre. We embrace stories for audiences of all ages and bring the same artistic quality to all our work. Great stories in the classroom: Kids are celebrated at the Arden. We nurture curiosity, creativity and confidence through our educational programming. We foster connections between theatre and reading and promote literacy for our young audiences. We reach thousands of students each year, introducing many of our region’s kids to theatre for the first time. Great stories in the community: We believe in the power of stories to bring people together. We work to build a vital community of artists who excel creatively through shared experiences and with whom our audiences identify. The Arden strives to be Philadelphia’s hometown theatre; we seek community partnerships and collaborations, make our work affordable and accessible, and train the next generation of theatre leaders, contributing to the region’s cultural landscape. * In 2010, the Board of Directors unanimously adopted a revision to the Arden Mission Statement, its first revision since our founding in 1988, to include the phrase “on the stage, in the classroom, and in the community.” This updated mission statement reflects that our education programming and our commitment to serving and engaging the Greater Philadelphia community are equal priorities and crucial to our organizational success.
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VALUES A fierce commitment to excellence This imperative drives every aspect of our work, whether onstage, in the boardroom, the classroom, rehearsal room, offices, or shops. ● The effective and efficient use of all resources As a non-profit organization, the effective and efficient use of resources is essential to the Arden’s healthy operations. ● Collaboration and Accountability In all our activities, collaboration is vital to our collective success. Clear accountability ensures that our work is done in the most effective and efficient manner possible. ● Risk Risk is inherent in any creative process. We believe thoughtful risk-taking is not only appropriate, but healthy and necessary for the Arden’s success. ● Organizational Health We strive to make working at the Arden, in any capacity, a healthy, positive experience. The opinions and concerns of all employees are valued and respected. ● Commitment to community and education We have a commitment to this diverse community, and to education and training. We believe that live theatre offers unique learning opportunities for both children and adults. We seek to be a good neighbor in Old City and to be an integral part of the cultural life of this region. We strive to work with local artists, partner with local institutions and organizations, and engage our audiences in the development of our work. ● Above and beyond As a company, we all agree to put the needs of the whole above the needs of any individual. Exceptional effort is the norm. We all succeed together. VISION The Arden will be recognized as one of Philadelphia’s great cultural treasures and one of the leading regional theatres in the country. We will draw from the best actors, designers, technicians, and arts administrators available nationally while remaining committed to homegrown artists. The Arden will be known as an important incubator for the creation of new work—plays and musicals that premiere at the Arden will be presented worldwide. Playwrights will seek to make the Arden their artistic home. Young people will be inspired, empowered and develop a life-long love of the arts when they experience the energy of Arden Children’s Theatre and participate in Arden classes. Graduates of the Arden Professional Apprentice Program will shape the future of American theatre—here in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Our audiences will see themselves and their humanity in the stories we tell and classes we teach and have a lifelong relationship with this theatre. The Arden will be a source of civic pride, the theatre that Philadelphians point to as their theatre.
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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT The US economy has improved in recent years but the recovery has been uneven. Philadelphia’s cultural community has been significantly impacted as cited in the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance 2014 Portfolio: “Keeping the doors open is never easy, and cultural nonprofits were particularly hard hit by the Great Recession. (During 2009-2012), we saw a slow rebound with revenue increasing 3% over those three years…. (T)he revenue increase was driven primarily by Earned Income gains from operations. Overall Contributed Income growth was flat during the same period, at a time when arts philanthropy nationally increased 22%. While regional foundation and board giving increased, those gains were countered by declines in individual, government and corporate funding.”1
As leisure time and discretionary income becomes more scarce, competition and demand for these limited resources sharply escalate. According to the National Endowment for the Arts’ most recent survey of Public Participation (2012), attendance at non-musical plays dropped at a 33% rate over the last decade, and the decline in attendance at musicals was the first statistically significant change in this activity since 1985.2
Technology continues to be a growing consideration in the way audiences interact with the arts. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 83% of arts organizations surveyed believe that the diversification of art audiences has been promoted by the use of technology and social media. While this result is favorable, the arts organizations also fear that new technologies have increased audience expectations, “The audience has already moved from ‘arts attendance as an event’ to ‘arts attendance as an experience.’ This desire for a full-range of positive experience from ticket purchase, to travel, to parking, to treatment at the space, to quality of performance, to exit – this will only increase over the next 10 years.”3
There have been significant leadership transitions at several important organizations in the Philadelphia region, including, but not limited to, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the William Penn Foundation. The shifting foundation landscape is of particular significance given the key role they play for this region’s cultural community. As noted in the Cultural Alliance 2014 Portfolio, “Foundations remain an important source of income for our region’s non-profits. Foundation support represents 12% of funding overall, 25% higher than the national average of 9.5%.”4
According to the 2013 Theater Communication’s Group Theatre Facts report—a snapshot of regional theatres from across the country—over the past five years, earned income experienced growth while contributed income declined
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, “2014 Portfolio,” October 16, 2014. http://www.philaculture.org/sites/default/files/2014_portfolio_spreads_0.pdf 2 National Endowment for the Arts, “How A Nation Engages With Art: Highlights From The 2012 Survey Of Public Participation In The Arts,” October 2014 http://arts.gov/sites/default/files/highlights-from-2012-SPPA-rev-oct14.pdf 3 Kristin Thomson, Kristien Purcell, and Lee Rainie. “Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies,” Janurary 4, 2013. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/04/arts-organizations-and-digital-technologies 4 Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, “2014 Portfolio.”
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(growth in contributions from individuals and fundraising events were the only areas to outpace inflation). According to the report, “average working capital—the unrestricted resources available to meet day-to-day obligations and cash needs— was negative and great cause for concern in each of the past 5 years.”5
Families remain an important audience for the arts. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance 2010 Cultural Engagement Index highlighted this key finding: “Parents and caregivers of young children continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage their families in arts and cultural activities with an eye toward learning and nurturing experiences. At the same time, arts education has been reduced. According to the National Endowment for the Arts 2011 report, Arts Education in America: What the decline means in arts participation, “The percentage of 18-year olds who received any arts education during their childhood has declined 8% from 2002 (57%) to 2008 (49%), and this continues a long-term pattern of decline since 1982.”6
The Philadelphia cultural community is in a period of flux. In an interview in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Arts Consultant Michael Kaiser was quoted as saying: “There have been financial challenges everywhere, but there have been more deep financial challenges to the arts in Philadelphia, over a broader range of organizations, than in most American cities." In 2011, the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia ceased operations and, in 2014, the Prince Music Theatre opted to close. Philadelphia Theatre Company is reorganizing after experiencing financial challenges. The last 10 years have seen a burst of new, small theatres, contributing to Philadelphia’s ever-changing cultural ecology. The FringeArts opened its year-round performance center and restaurant on the nearby Delaware River waterfront and, in the absence of the Theatre Alliance, a new organization, Theatre Philadelphia, was created to continue the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre (the Arden has played a leadership role with Theatre Philadelphia and donates office space for the organization’s operations). Competitive pricing continues to evolve; the Wilma recently launched WynTix, a new ticket subsidy program, made possible by support from the Wyncote Foundation, which reduces all single tickets to $25 for the general public and $10 for students and theatre artists.
Philadelphia’s Professional Theatres: A Snapshot, a 2009 report commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, summarizes the strengths and challenges facing this community and remains relevant: “Philadelphia Theatres have much to celebrate, including an impressive dedication to the development of new work, an increasing number of community members attending and contributing, strong trustee and foundation support, and an ability to keep expenses under control. However, some serious challenges present opportunities for change. These challenges include…a diminishing subscriber base, an increasing number of empty seats…low endowments, and negative working capital that leaves Philadelphia theatres without enough cash to cover day-to-day operating expenses.”7
Theatre Communications Group, “Theatre Facts,” October 2014 http://www.tcg.org/pdfs/tools/TCG_TheatreFacts_2013.pdf 6 National Endowment for the Arts, “Arts Education in America,” February 2011 http://arts.gov/sites/default/files/2008-SPPA-ArtsLearning.pdf 7 Voss, Zannie Giraud and Glenn B. Voss “Philadelphia’s Professional Theatres: A Snapshot,” January 22, 2009.
Arden Theatre Company
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF STRATEGIC GOALS & OBJECTIVES Despite an environment that continues to be turbulent, the Arden has achieved significant success over the last three years as we have expanded our programming, grown our audience, and increased our annual budget–from $4.4 million (FY12) to $5.2 (FY15). Perhaps the most transformative achievement during this time was the creation of the Hamilton Family Arts Center, a 22,000 square-foot, two-story building just three doors north of our main theatre building, and the completion of a $5.8 million campaign for the purchase and renovation of this new facility. Over the next three years, we plan to capitalize on our newly expanded institutional capacity by: bolstering our relationship with our growing audience base; stabilizing and deepening program offerings; maximizing use of our new building; strengthening our staff roster; and ensuring continued artistic excellence. The following plan outlines goals for every arm of the organization to collaboratively advance the work that supports our mission. All of these goals are informed by the need to balance navigating this challenging time, while still leveraging opportunities to our advantage. We will do this by capitalizing fully on the tremendous artistic, organizational, and physical foundations we have built, thus fortifying our national reputation and our relationships with the artists, audiences, and key stakeholders that are at the center of our theatre’s existence. To fulfill its mission, the Arden is committed to achieving the following goals and objectives during the course of the plan: ARTISTIC PROGRAMS We seek to attract the highest quality and most diverse theatre artists available and to expand the scope of our work in order to ensure artistic excellence on our stages. To this end we will:
Strengthen key artistic relationships and forge new affiliations with creative artists to bring fresh perspectives and influences to our work Build upon our use of the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase and further our commitment to the development and production of new plays and musicals Grow our thriving Children’s Theatre program Provide competitive salaries and housing for our artists and ensure that they have the support and resources they need to produce their best work Develop additional artistic advancement initiatives and resources to enrich our artistic programming Explore collaborations to expand the pool of artists with whom we work and to fortify our artistic programming
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EDUCATION PROGRAMS We seek to provide exceptional educational experiences—through our work onstage, in the classroom and in the community—and to make these opportunities available to all. We strive to develop future theatre leaders by offering the most comprehensive professional apprenticeships. To achieve this goal, we will: Continue to serve over 6,000 students annually through Arden for All Strengthen our relationship with key Teaching Artists and further develop our pool of qualified Teaching Artists Continue to expand the breadth and depth of Arden Drama School programming Grow Teen Arden to increase participation, strengthen teen leadership, and expand programming Continue to invest in the future of the field with the Arden Professional Apprentice Program AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT As part of our ongoing commitment to the Greater Philadelphia region, we strive to reach as many different segments of our community as possible with our work. To that end we will: Develop and expand the Arden’s base of loyal and long–term audience members Identify and reach out to broader segments of the community in order to introduce them to our work and encourage audience members to return Keep our work as affordable and accessible as possible so that all those interested in experiencing our productions have the opportunity to do so Continually evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing efforts FUNDRAISING To meet the Arden’s artistic and educational goals, we require a stable flow of contributed income to underwrite our work and keep ticket prices and tuition affordable. To accomplish this goal we will: Increase contributions to the Annual Fund and Sylvan Society by 20% by FY18 Create special events that drive income, identify new prospects, and improve donor relationships Grow participation in our planned giving program, the Legacy Society, with a goal of increasing our membership by 30% by FY18 Grow operating contributions from foundations by adding at least two new foundations to support general operations as contributors by FY18, and deepen our connection to existing and prospective funders Maintain our current level of corporate support and deepen our current relationships by increasing value of sponsorships to corporations Maintain our current level of government funding by expanding and cultivating our base of supporters within the new government administrations
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FACILITIES Our goal is to ensure that the Arden’s performance and support spaces continue to foster greater artistic opportunity, better serve our students, artists, and staff, and enhance the theatre-going experience for our patrons. To this end we will: Monitor operations of the Hamilton Family Arts Center and oversee capital projects to fully maximize the building’s potential Maintain, execute, and update the Systems Replacement Plan for all three facilities Improve 40 N. 2nd Street by addressing necessary capital projects GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION We seek to attract the highest caliber and most diverse team of Board/committee members, managers, and staff. To this end we will: Develop and maintain a diverse Board that is fully informed, engaged, and inspired to execute its governance responsibility and develop the resources of the organization Maintain the high level of engagement and overall effectiveness of the Board Attract and retain highly qualified and well-trained staff through aggressive recruitment, competitive salary and benefits, and a healthy working environment FINANCIAL We strive to maintain fiscal health and secure long-term financial stability in order to meet the artistic, educational, and institutional goals of this plan. To this end we will: Maintain the fiscal health of the organization Maintain a healthy balance between earned and contributed income Design a Capitalization Strategy to enable the Arden to use its current assets most effectively
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SECTION TWO: ARTISTIC PROGRAMS Present Position: Over the past three seasons, the Arden has made great strides in our artistic growth and vitality. We have deepened our commitment to new work, furthered our dedication to children and family audiences, expanded our national reach, and invested increased resources in our artists and productions. Throughout the Arden’s 26-year history, one of our greatest strengths has been the relationships we have forged with artists in this community. Over the past three years, we have strengthened key artistic relationships with longstanding collaborators, including many of Philadelphia’s finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights.8 These remarkable artists are at the heart of what we do, and with too many to enumerate here, we single out two productions that benefitted from these incredibly vital relationships:
August, Osage County (2011) told the story of a family in turmoil and featured a multigenerational ensemble of Philadelphia actors who drew upon their shared history and experience to bring this emotional and savagely funny play to life, prompting Philadelphia Weekly to call it “a production that ranks among the best of the company’s 23-year history” and to extol: “The Arden’s production of August, Osage County is about as thrilling as Philly theatre gets.”
The musical Parade (2013) brought together a cast of many of the finest musical theatre actors in Philadelphia and was recognized with 15 Barrymore nominations, the most for any individual production, including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, Outstanding Ensemble, and nominations for seven members of the cast.
The success of these two very different productions was in large part due to our ability to capitalize on the rich artistic relationships that we have with these actors and that they’ve forged with one another. August marked Carla Belver’s 5th Arden production; Mary Martello’s 15th; and Grace Gonglewski’s 21st. Parade was Ben Dibble’s 16th Arden production; Jeff Coon’s 17th; Scott Greer’s 26th. These deep and sustaining relationships are the foundation of the Arden’s artistic vitality and represent only some of the important ongoing relationships that shape and inspire our work. While maintaining these historic partnerships, we continue to introduce new artistic perspectives to our work. Over the past three years, we have expanded the pool of directors with whom we work to include younger, up-and-coming Philadelphia-based artists including: Matthew Decker, who was named Arden Associate Artistic Director in 2012; Emmanuelle Delpeche, a Le Coq trained teacher/director who has established herself nationally as a leading practitioner of physical theatre and clowning; and Alexander Burns, the Artistic Director of Quintessence Theatre, who has established a reputation for his approach to classical texts. We have expanded the pool of playwrights with whom we work. We recently commissioned new plays from British playwright Greg Banks and Philadelphia playwright James Ijames. We are also currently developing Laura Eason’s new play based on Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates and a new version of The Jungle Book, also written by Greg Banks, to be produced as part of our 2014/15 season. In addition to producing new plays, we also produced, for the first time, the 8
The Arden Family Tree now includes 41 Philadelphia based artists who have worked on ten or more Arden shows.
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work of Lydia Diamond (Stickfly), Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man), Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park) and Philadelphia playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes (Water by the Spoonful). We have continued to reinforce our reputation as a leading producer of new plays and musicals through work made possible by the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase and the addition of The Writers’ Room, a three-year new play residency project made possible by leadership support from the Independence Foundation and The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Through The Writers’ Room, playwrights had a focused period of time to develop a project, access to the artistic resources of the Arden, and the guarantee of a production. In addition, the project allowed us to explore audience engagement opportunities by providing interested patrons access to and firsthand experience with the creative process of developing a new play. Writers’ Room playwrights-in-residence during the three-year project included: Wendy MacLeod (Women in Jep, 2012); Rachel Bonds (At the Old Place, 2013); and Michael Hollinger (Under the Skin, 2014). Arden Children’s Theatre has become a cornerstone of the Arden’s educational work and artistic reputation. Since its creation in 1998, over half a million kids and adults have attended an Arden Children’s Theatre production, making our Children’s Theatre programming one of the premier cultural activities for families in the Philadelphia region. We have continued to grow our thriving Children’s Theatre program, as is exemplified in these milestones:
Our 2011/12 production of Charlotte’s Web was the highest attended and highest grossing production in the Arden’s history, with over 34,000 attendees and ticket sales of $497,000.
Over the past three seasons, Charlotte’s Web, Robin Hood, Pinocchio, and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat all had extended runs due to audience demand.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School received four Barrymore Award nominations, including Outstanding Ensemble in a Play—further evidence that Arden Children’s Theatre productions are viewed by this community as first rate artistic creations.
We have also raised the Arden’s national profile. Plays that premiered at the Arden continue to be produced with increasing regularity across the country: 2013 and 2014 saw 50 new productions of plays that originated at the Arden. Arden world premieres have also been staged internationally, including productions of Wittenberg and Opus in Tokyo, Austria, Germany, England, Australia, and Canada. These plays are ambassadors for our work and testaments to the quality of the artistry of the Philadelphia theatre community. In addition, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, we have taken steps to strengthen our national profile by creating partnerships with leading regional theatres and artists through two major artistic initiatives:
The Chekhov Project was a two-year investigation of the work of Anton Chekhov that culminated in a production of a new translation of Three Sisters. Partnering with the Trinity Repertory Company of Providence, Rhode Island, we developed a new translation of Three Sisters by Curt Columbus, Trinity Rep’s Artistic Director. Bringing together actors drawn from Philadelphia and Trinity Rep, the project included workshops and training over the two-year process. Through The Chekhov Project, we invested in
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the next generation of Philadelphia-based theatre artists, providing training with master teachers and the opportunity to create work over an extended developmental process. Curt Columbus’ new translation was subsequently published.
The Children’s Theatre Consortium was a year-long partnership between Arden and Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) of Minneapolis and Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT), the two leading theatres in the United States dedicated to theatre for children. Through a series of site visits at each of the partner theatres, the artistic staffs shared best practices, explored innovative new models of new play development, and laid the groundwork to co-commission and co-develop new work for children. This future collaboration has the potential to have a significant impact on Arden Children’s Theatre and for the field as a whole.
The Arden remains committed to creating and producing a wide range of work: audacious musical theatre; world-class children’s theatre; world premiere plays and musicals; and plays that challenge and celebrate Philadelphia’s theatre artists. Over the past three years, we have maximized strategic funding opportunities and strengthened collaborative partnerships to ensure that we continually fulfill this goal. We continue to invest in bringing ambitious work to our stages: August: Osage County and Parade both featured large acting ensembles (13 cast members in August; 15 in Parade) and challenging production demands (the three-story house that served as the setting for August; the innovative use of video utilized throughout Parade). Through the work on our stages, we continue to raise the artistic bar; as Philadelphia City Paper enthused, “Three Sisters is a cultural event that sets a new standard.” Further evidence of our growing reputation comes from Stephen Sondheim, whose A Little Night Music was the capstone of the Arden’s 25th anniversary season: “At a time when many larger organizations are producing reduced forms of shows like mine and the work of other experimental theater composers, it is heartening to know that the Arden exists. I applaud them for their commitment to not scaling back their art, especially in this time of economic uncertainty. I give my blessings and thanks to the Arden and everything they stand for.” Strategic Goal and Objectives: We seek to attract the highest quality and most diverse theatre artists available and to expand the scope of our work in order to ensure artistic excellence on our stages. To this end we will:
Strengthen key artistic relationships and forge new affiliations with creative artists to bring fresh perspectives and influences to our work
We will continue to be an artistic home for playwrights such as Michael Hollinger, Aaron Posner, Bruce Graham, and Michael Ogborn. In the 2014/15 season, we will produce the world premiere of Michael Hollinger’s Under the Skin and are currently developing Bruce Graham’s new play Funnyman. Over the past three years we have also expanded our pool of directors, working with at least one new director each season. Collaborating with new directors has allowed us to take advantage of new artistic vision and the professional networks they bring to the table. In each of the coming three seasons, we will hire a new director to continue to benefit from new perspectives and the infusion of new talent they supply. Arden Theatre Company
One of the keys to artistic investment is the artist’s connection to a specific role or project. Over the years, key artistic successes resulted from strong artist/production pairings: James Ijames in Superior Donuts; Joilet Harris in Caroline, or Change; and Scott Greer in La Bête. Over the years we have held informal readings of plays that are under consideration and these have resulted in some truly memorable performances. Over the next three years we will continue to schedule informal readings to determine the perfect match of actor to role, or director to project.
Build upon our use of the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase and further our commitment to the development and production of new plays and musicals
Under the auspices of the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase, the Arden has to date workshopped 33 plays and musicals and produced 36 world premieres. Each season we workshop at least three new works and commission one new project. Over the next three years, we will continue to commission (or co-commission) one new play or musical each year, growing the commissioning fee from $7,500 in 2014/15 to $10,000 by the end of this plan. We will workshop all commissioned plays and musicals, culminating in a public reading. Commissions are an investment in our playwrights, and workshops allow writers to work, free from the pressure of an opening night. Public readings also enable key stakeholders to participate in the developmental process, creating a community around each new play and fostering the Arden’s ongoing commitment to the creation of new work. While not every commission will result in a produced project, it is our hope that these commissions and subsequent developmental workshops and readings will be a pipeline for future productions, whether at the Arden or other theatres across the country. Over the next three years, we will continue to have readings and workshop new productions using the following allocated resources: 2014/15 $15,000
We will also draw from our experience with The Writers’ Room to continue to provide artistic resources for playwrights during the writing and development of their plays, including dramaturgical support, space for readings, and opportunities to work with actors. In addition, we will seek to broaden the audience engagement opportunities piloted during The Writers’ Room project to expand access to the process of creating new plays and musicals. The rehearsal spaces and performance venue in the Hamilton Family Arts Center provides a physical space for the calibrated expansion of our new play development work. Over the next three years, we will seek opportunities to further our commitment to the creation of new musicals for both our Mainstage and Children’s Theatre audiences through commissions and the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. Creating new musicals is expensive, in part due to their collaborative nature and multi-faceted requirements; of our 36 world premieres, 5 have been musicals. However, given the Arden’s unique position as a leading producer of musicals in this region and our passion for advancing the musical theatre art form, it is an important next step. In addition, we will join the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) to broaden our network and expand our vision.
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Grow our thriving Children’s Theatre program
We will continue to dedicate our best resources to the creation of Arden Children’s Theatre. As The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Wendy Rosenfield observed: “The Arden does not consider your children second-class citizens. The Arden respects your kids so much it commissioned a hot young playwright…and grabbed a Barrymore Award-winning director. The results are exciting, funny and creatively imagined.” We endow our Children’s Theatre productions with the same commitment to quality as our other work. While there is increasing competition for families’ limited time, attention, and leisure dollars, the Arden’s commitment to quality remains our competitive advantage. A challenge we consistently encounter when planning our seasons is the scarcity of quality children’s theatre scripts. Given the importance of Arden Children’s Theatre in fulfilling our mission, we have awarded a commission for a new play specifically for children every other year. However, the most significant advancement towards our goal of creating new plays and musicals for young audiences has been through our work with Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) and Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) under the auspices of the Children’s Theatre Consortium. CTC and SCT are the pioneers of the children’s theatre field here in the United States and leaders when it comes to commissioning, developing, and producing new plays for this audience. Through the work of the consortium, in 2015, we will pilot a co-commissioning program through which we will commission three new projects annually. The hope is that our combined interest will leverage the attention of playwrights with whom we have been unable to forge relationships and serve as additional endorsement for the work of playwrights who have already contributed to the children’s theatre canon. Through the consortium, we’ve also identified ways that the partner theatres could co-develop new work, the first such example being playwright Greg Banks’ new version of The Jungle Book. Originally commissioned and developed by CTC, The Jungle Book will be further developed by the Arden, premiere here in 2015, and subsequently will be produced by CTC in 2016. The Arden’s The Jungle Book will be directed by Associate Artistic Director Matthew Decker and developed with the participation of CTC Director of New Play Development Elissa Adams. We see this as a model for how our future work together might unfold; it certainly captures the spirit of trust that our work under the Children’s Theatre Consortium project engendered. Our work with these colleagues will significantly expand and further diversify the pool of artists with whom we collaborate and strengthen the Arden’s position as a leader in the creation of new work for young audiences.
Provide competitive salaries and housing for our artists and ensure that they have the support and resources they need to produce their best work
The Arden is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), and we currently pay the LORT-C scale for both Arcadia and Haas Stage productions. Our Children’s Theatre work is governed by a contract negotiated by a newly-formed consortium of theatres for young audiences. We consistently exceed the salary rates for artists as outlined in this contract. We will recommit to paying a modest premium to actors who are members of the Arden’s Family Tree, in recognition of them as valued Arden collaborators. Honoring the commitment of key artists is a priority as competition for Philadelphia-based artists continues to grow. Arden Theatre Company
Our directors’ fees need to increase. In order to strengthen our competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best directors, we will increase directors’ fees over the next three seasons as follows: 2014/15 $7,500
Our new building’s proximity to our performance venue makes it an ideal location. The Hamilton Family Arts Center includes a large rehearsal hall and smaller spaces that are ideal for individual coaching and breakout sessions. Larger shop spaces have allowed us to centralize our scene and paint shops, heightening efficiency and creating more frequent opportunities for artisans and technicians to collaborate on a unified artistic vision for each production. Increased efficiencies in our technical capabilities have also allowed us to improve our production values, which in turn will enable us to attract and collaborate with designers of the highest caliber. In addition, over the past three years, we have made significant investments in our Arden support spaces and production resources: updating our lighting; sound and video systems for both the Haas and Arcadia Stage; and replacing outdated equipment to eliminate rental costs. Our design teams now frequently feature artists of national repute. Providing directors and designers with up-to-date technical equipment and resources will continue to increase our ability to attract and retain leading artists and expand the scope of our work. Develop additional artistic advancement initiatives and resources to enrich our artistic programming Over the past three years, our artistic work has benefitted immeasurably through foundation support of special projects and initiatives. The Writers’ Room project was supported by the Independence Foundation and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; the Pew Center also supported the aforementioned Chekhov Project and the Children’s Theatre Consortium. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supported First Friday Live, a performance series curated by the Arden held in conjunction with Old City’s popular First Friday events. These projects expanded our programming, extended our reach, and enhanced our artistic process. Over the next three years, we will continue to identify funding opportunities to increase our investment in our artistic programming. Funders are increasingly seeking to fund innovative projects and the Arden’s extensive programming portfolio allows us to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities. We will continue to pursue increased rehearsal time for world premieres and particularly complex productions through the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards and others. These investments allow for greater artistic risks, more ambitious storytelling, and more accomplished programming. Over the past three years, we have presented an average of 465 performances per season, maximizing the use of the Haas and Arcadia Stages. The Hamilton Family Arts Center provides the opportunity for us to explore additional programming opportunities such as a cabaret series in the studio theatre. Given that we view these next three years as a time of stabilization after a period of tremendous growth, we will ensure that these additional artistic projects are appropriately funded and do not overtax the staff.
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Explore collaborations to expand the pool of artists with whom we work and to fortify our artistic programming
We will also continue to explore and pursue collaborations and co-productions with other leading theatres in the country. Sharing resources creates an opportunity to grow our art while controlling costs and expanding our creative horizons. In addition to the new play development partnership opportunities detailed earlier, we will:
Continue to build upon our significant artistic relationships with Lookingglass Theatre and Trinity Repertory Company. These theatres have strong affiliations with an impressive network of theatre artists. Doug Hara, a Lookingglass company member, has worked at the Arden as an actor and director; together with Lookingglass, in 2014 we held a workshop of The Pennyworth Stories, a new play written by Doug. Trinity Rep’s Resident Designer is Eugene Lee, a Tony Award-winning master set designer, who designed our production of Three Sisters. These theatres and their affiliated artists have played important roles in the Arden’s artistic work, and we will seek to further these important relationships to bring renewed energies and perspectives to our work.
Partner with other organizations equally dedicated to new play development. In the past, My Name is Asher Lev and Ghost-Writer were co-developed at PlayPenn and The Flea and the Professor was workshopped at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/ New Voices festival. In coming years, we will look to deepen our relationships with Primary Stages, the Lark New Play Development Center, and New Dramatists. Partnerships such as these bring increased expertise and artistic energies, while bolstering the bottom line of our new play development efforts.. The rehearsal spaces and performance venue in the Hamilton Family Arts Center will provide a physical space for the calibrated expansion of our new play development work.
Explore co-developing or co-producing relationships with theatres with complementary artistic visions and values, such as Roundhouse Theatre in Maryland, Primary Stages in New York, and Writers Theatre in Chicago.
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SECTION THREE: EDUCATION PROGRAMS Present Position: The Arden has a longstanding commitment to education. Over the past six years, we have significantly grown both our education and outreach programming. This programmatic increase is reflected in the update of the company’s mission statement in 2011, appropriately communicating the priority of this programming. The Arden’s education efforts are divided into four areas of focus: Arden for All, Arden Drama School, the newly launched Teen Arden, and the Arden Professional Apprentice Program. Arden for All (AFA), our education outreach program, served more than 16,000 students during the course of the 2012/15 plan. It operates in two parts. Through AFA: Classroom, we provide free tickets and show-related books to students in need in the Greater Philadelphia area, along with a series of show-related in-class lessons led by Arden Teaching Artists. Through AFA: Stage, we provide free tickets and books annually to young people from low-income neighborhoods. Our AFA: Classroom program returns to the same schools each year, enabling us to have a multi-year impact as students progress from 3rd to 5th grade.9 By integrating theatre techniques into a traditional classroom setting, AFA lessons invigorate the learning experience and effectively reach students challenged by more traditional teaching methods. When students graduate from the AFA: Classroom program, they have developed problem solving skills, the ability to work collaboratively in a team, and a strong sense of self-confidence as they enter 6th grade. In 2011/12, through AFA Classroom, we served 1,228 students in 56 classrooms in 9 schools; by 2013/14, we reached 1,678 students in 74 classrooms in 13 schools. To assist teachers with integrating the show-related books into their classroom curriculum, we provide supplementary lesson plans that correspond with the books, all of which conform to Pennsylvania Academic Standards and New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. One teacher from Morrison Elementary School in Philadelphia said: “In a time when there is so much emphasis on test taking, the Arden for All Program reminds teachers and students there is a better way to teach children - a way to make them excited about learning, a way to make learning fun, creative and engrossing. Thank you for the privilege of being part of this wonderful program. It is also a gift to teachers.” For Arden Drama School, the 2013/14 season marked the first year operating in the Hamilton Family Arts Center. With six classrooms, a studio theatre, and a parent lounge, the new building was designed specifically for and dedicated to meeting the needs of our educational programming, and has been met with overwhelmingly positive response from our Arden Teaching Artists, students, and parents. The increased capacity provided by the Hamilton Family Arts Center will enable Arden Drama School to grow, serving even more students and generating increased revenue for our organization.
Consistent with our AFA: Classroom model, the national study Profiles In Excellence, Case Studies of Exemplary Arts Education Partnerships shows that exemplary partnerships between schools and arts organizations focus on expanding upon established collaborations as opposed to going into as many schools as possible.
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Arden Drama School provides theatre education and training for students pre-K through 12th grade through tuition-based classes and camps. Taught by theatre professionals with a passion for teaching, the curriculum for grades pre-K—5 is designed to engage students in fun and interactive ways, build confidence and creativity, and instill a lifelong love of theatre. Curriculum for middle and high school students focuses on learning and refining skills, while providing more performance opportunities. During the period of the 2012/15 plan, in preparation for our move into the Hamilton Family Arts Center, we significantly expanded our class offerings, from 45 different classes in 2011/12 to 64 in 2013/14, with class offerings for students in middle and high school doubling. Over this period of time, enrollment likewise grew, from 1442 in 2011/12 to 1807 in 2013/14, a 25% increase. In addition, we placed special emphasis on creating a sequential curriculum; class offerings are targeted for each age group and build on each other so that students have the opportunity to advance their training as they grow older. In 2012, with a leadership gift of $250,000 from long-time supporter Wally Loeb, we created the Arden Arts Education Scholarship Fund to ensure that all children have equal opportunity to attend Arden Drama School classes and camps. For several years, the Arden has provided scholarships for children who could otherwise not afford to participate, though these efforts were informal and often last-minute. With the opening of the Hamilton Family Arts Center and the expansion of Arden Drama School, the Arden Arts Education Scholarship Fund represents a significant step forward in making our classes and camps accessible to all children who are interested in participating. The following is an excerpt from a letter from one young scholarship recipient: To the donor who has helped me this year: The Arden is one of my favorite places in the world. It has become one of my escapes, a place where I can be free to express myself with no one judging me, something that isn't really possible to do anywhere else…If it wasn't for you, then I would have never been able to do what I truly love to do. In 2012, we significantly expanded our commitment to this region’s youth with the creation of Teen Arden, a comprehensive and in-depth program that gives high school-aged students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of professional theatre. Funded by a leadership grant by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, in its first two years, Teen Arden has served more than 340 high school students through Teen Nights at Arden productions, master classes with professional theatre artists, after-school sessions, trips to outside arts organizations, and professional development with Arden staff. The Arden Professional Apprentice (APA) Program has garnered a national reputation for producing well-rounded, skilled, up-and-coming theatre professionals. Over the course of a year, the apprentices rotate through all departments of the theatre, and are entrusted with a wide range of tasks—from box office duties to assistant stage managing—and are central to the Arden’s day to day operations. The APA program attracts candidates from across the country, and the majority of the program’s graduates remain in Philadelphia upon completion of the program, contributing to the region’s cultural vitality. The program also serves as a valuable resource pool for our own staffing needs. Others go on to assume leadership positions in other arenas, most notably former apprentice Brian Abernathy (2000), who serves as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and as President of our Board of Directors. Former Arden apprentices also hold cultural leadership positions on the national level. Distinguished examples include: Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Curator of Performing Arts at
Arden Theatre Company
Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans; Jill Scott, recording star, Grammy winner, television and motion picture actress; and Julianne Brienza, Founder and Executive Director, Capital Fringe Festival, Washington, DC. In 2013, the Arden Professional Apprentice Program marked its 20th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, we held a celebration at the Hamilton Family Arts Center. Fittingly, this was one of the first events held in our newly finished facility, as past Apprentices have played a pivotal role in supporting and sustaining our organization. Turnout for the event was extraordinary, with 75% of all former Apprentices in attendance. The Apprentice graduates made a donation to the Hamilton Family Arts Center Capital Campaign—an inspiring recognition of their continued connection to and investment in this company’s future. In 2014, following the opening of the Hamilton Family Arts Center, we strengthened our Education Department with the creation of two leadership positions: Director of Arden Drama School, charged with growing our classes and camps for kids and teens; and Director of Education Outreach, who will lead our Arden for All program in the schools. Director of Arden Drama School Amanda Morton has previously worked as a Teaching Artist for Arden Drama School and brings to the organization a fierce commitment to inspiring kids, in addition to extensive professional experience as a musical director and conductor; Director of Education Outreach Jose Aviles has worked in the Education Departments of the Wilma and Walnut Street Theatre and was most recently Education Director at Taller Puertorriqueño, in addition to being a professional director. This change in our Educational Department leadership more accurately reflects the needs of our expanding educational programming and the growth and increased impact that we seek to achieve. Strategic Goal and Objectives: We seek to provide exceptional educational experiences—through our work onstage, in the classroom and in the community—and to make these opportunities available to all. We strive to develop future theatre leaders by offering the most comprehensive professional apprenticeships. To achieve this goal, we will:
Continue to serve over 6,000 students annually through Arden for All
Arden for All is our broadest outreach program, through which we will continue to serve more than 6,000 students annually. We will serve 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes at participating schools, building a cumulative experience for students over the course of three years. Under the leadership of Director of Education Outreach Jose Aviles, we will strengthen our relationships with partner schools to maximize the impact of our work, fortify Teaching Artist training and peer communication throughout the process, and take steps to refine our assessment of the program to measure its effectiveness. We will also continue our partnership with The Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy (CAMVA), formerly Camden Creative Arts High School, which enables CAMVA students to see five Arden shows and participate in master classes with visiting artists each year. Our contact at CAMVA, Dr. Douglas Overtoom praised our CAMVA residency: “You come back year after year, you see them improve at their art, and they see that you care about them as young artists. My kids don’t often get that kind of commitment."
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Strengthen our relationship with key Teaching Artists and further develop our pool of qualified Teaching Artists
One of the great strengths of our educational programming is our ability to maintain ongoing relationships with a growing group of extraordinary Teaching Artists, many of whom work as Arden Drama School instructors and in the classroom for Arden for All. In order to cultivate the best Teaching Artists, we will provide teacher training and professional development opportunities as part of teacher orientation, and work to build collaboration and learning between teachers throughout the semesters. We will also continue to make increased compensation for Teaching Artists a priority over the next three years to encourage the continued involvement of experienced, first-rate Teaching Artists. Our current pay for Teaching Artists is below that of other area theatres and arts organizations. In 2015/16, we will raise the hourly rate to be competitive with our peers and by 2017 we will be a leader when it comes to compensation for Teaching Artists.
Continue to expand the breadth and depth of Arden Drama School programming
The past three years included a period of impressive growth for Arden Drama School, culminating in the opening and first year of operations of the Hamilton Family Arts Center. Over the next three years, under the leadership of Arden Drama School Director Amanda Morton, we will continue to grow Arden Drama School enrollment by further expanding our offerings and strengthening our position as a center for theatre classes and camps for children of all ages. Through surveys of our students and their caregivers, we know that, for grades pre-K—5, Arden Drama School should be a place that encourages creativity, confidence, and fun; as students move through middle and high school, they seek more rigorous training and opportunities for performance. We will expand our Arden Drama School programming based on this approach. In addition, we will explore the expansion of Arden Drama School to include classes for adults. This may include: acting classes; teacher training workshops; public speaking and corporate training; private coachings; and book clubs. Arden Drama School attendance is projected to increase to 2,247 by 2017/18, representing an increase of 55%. Through the newly created Arden Arts Education Scholarship Fund, the Arden will increase the number of children who receive scholarships to attend our camps and classes. In 2012/13, 60 students received scholarships; in 2013/14, the first year that classes and camps were held in the Hamilton Family Arts Center, 100 students were awarded scholarships. Over the next three years, we will significantly increase our commitment to the students in this region by offering need-based scholarships for participants across a wide range of classes and programs. As we continue to build Arden Drama School, we will expand participation as follows:
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Grow Teen Arden to increase participation, strengthen teen leadership, and expand programming
In the two years since its creation, Teen Arden has become a key part of the Arden’s educational programming, with leadership provided by the Albert M. Greenfield Teen Council and Teen Arden events at every Mainstage and Children’s Theatre production. Members of Teen Arden have been integrated into many aspects of the company: attending rehearsals, readings and workshops, opening nights, and working as teaching assistants for Arden Drama School. Teen Arden has also represented the Arden at events throughout the community, raising the profile of the program and serving as ambassadors for the Arden’s commitment to kids of this region. Over the next three years, we will seek to increase involvement of area teens by strengthening our relationships with local high schools, cultural programs with a commitment to teens, and access programs such as the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s STAMP program. We will continue to rely on the leadership of the Albert M. Greenfield Teen Council to ensure that the programming stays relevant and vital to the needs and interests of the participants. Finally, we will utilize the Arden Professional Apprentices, most of whom are recent college graduates, to serve as role models and to provide advice and perspective on college selection and admission processes. Director of Drama School Amanda Morton and Director of Education Outreach Jose Aviles will partner to oversee Teen Arden: Jose will oversee recruitment and engagement of Teen Arden members; Amanda will oversee programming and serve as a mentor for the Teen Council. Under their combined leadership, we seek to establish Teen Arden as a leading program for teens throughout the region who are passionate about theatre, enabling them to build their own community, one that is not restricted geographically, but rather bound by common interest.
Continue to invest in the future of the field with the Arden Professional Apprentice Program
The Arden Professional Apprentice Program is designed to provide a comprehensive, holistic introduction to running a non-profit regional theatre; the APA program continues to have a direct effect on the efficiency of the organization from year to year. The APA Management Committee was instituted in 2010 and has been extremely effective at heightening efficiency, addressing management issues as they arise, and ensuring the quality of experience for Apprentices. In the 2013/14 season, we increased the class to 7 Apprentices and, starting with the 2015/16 season, we will look to increase to 8 Apprentices each year. Under the leadership of Director of Education Outreach Jose Aviles, in order to hire the most qualified candidates for our APA program, over the next three years we will broaden our recruitment efforts to include visits to career centers and targeted career fairs at leading universities, promote the apprentice program with an increased presence online, and establish a network of alumni, professors, and stakeholders to serve as ambassadors for the program.
Arden Theatre Company
SECTION FOUR: AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Present Position: The Arden’s strong, loyal audience base continues to be one of its greatest assets. Serving three distinctly different audiences—Arden Mainstage, Arden Children’s Theatre, and Arden Drama School—the Arden has seen growth in all of these categories serving more than 108,000 audience members and students each season over the past three years (For enumeration on Arden Drama School constituencies see EDUCATION). Our 25th Anniversary season (2012/13) was our highest attended season to date, welcoming over 116,000 attendees and selling at 91% capacity. The Arden extended seven productions over the past three years, increasing the number of performances by 10% to address demand. Ticket revenue exceeded projections during the last three years by more than 3% and overall we sold at 88% capacity. Ticket Sales FY10-FY14
Subscribers represent 58% of our Mainstage audience base and 38% of our overall audience. Our Leap of Faith campaign offers patrons an opportunity to subscribe at a discount before the season is announced and accounts for nearly half (46%) of our Mainstage subscriber renewals annually. This trend testifies to the loyalty of Arden subscribers and the strength of our brand. While on a national level theatres continue to report declines in subscription sales, the Arden’s subscription numbers have remained level and Mainstage subscribers have a renewal rate ranging between 83%-92% each year. The number of new subscribers is less stable and is directly affected by the season’s choices of plays. Children’s Theatre subscriptions have remained consistent, with 14% of the Children’s Theatre audience coming from subscriptions. Arden Theatre Company
The number of single tickets sold has remained level over the past three years, but the average ticket price has increased 12%. Single ticket buyers represent 25% of our audience with most single ticket buyers (85%) attending only one show a season. Only 38% of single ticket buyers are repeat buyers. Children’s Theatre has an even higher churn rate, with 80% of single ticket buyers attending only one show over the span of three seasons. School groups prove to be a deeply loyal sector for Arden Children’s theatre, with 52% returning the following year, during the years of the plan. We remain dedicated to market research and ongoing assessment to most effectively use our resources to expand our audience. In 2013, the Arden was selected to attend the Theatre Communications Group’s Audience Revolution. This conference explored new models of audience development, digital campaigns, and evaluation tools. In addition, the Arden participated in the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and TRG Arts’ Patron Loyalty study, a comprehensive, proprietary model that considers earned and contributed income, rendering a loyalty score for each active patron household. Summary of those findings:
Arden Advocates (households who are donors and consummate loyalists): 4% of the audience responsible for 51.1% of revenue. Philadelphia cultural institutions Advocates: 3% responsible for 39% of revenue; National performing arts community Advocates: 1.3% responsible for 45.8% of revenue.
Arden Buyers (households who subscribe and make a small donation or purchase additional single tickets): 11.4% of the audience responsible for 25.5% of revenue. Philadelphia cultural institutions Buyers: 2.1% responsible for 23.2% of revenue; National performing arts community Buyers: 3.8% responsible for 17% of revenue.
Arden Tryers (households who have infrequent, one-time or long-ago transactions): 84.6% of the audience responsible for 23.4% of revenue. Philadelphia cultural institutions Tryers: 97.5% responsible for 37.2% of revenue; National performing arts community Tryers: 94.9% responsible for 37.2% of revenue.
Overall, the study told us that our patron loyalty is strong when compared across the average community results. However, we are reminded that we rely heavily on a small number of highly engaged patrons while experiencing a high churn rate in the Tryer group—typical of the nature of Tryers. This study put a framework and language around information that we intuitively know— we must continue to design campaigns to deepen engagement and loyalty within Buyers and Tryers, and continue to move patrons up the ladder into advocates. We continually monitor the efficacy of our marketing efforts. Our top sales drivers are internet advertising (including email and social media), word of mouth, and direct mail. By designing campaigns based on this information, we have been able to maximize the impact of our marketing dollars, spending $.18 to make a dollar, compared to the national average of $.30.10 Electronic marketing, in particular, has proven to be a low cost and effective method of reaching audiences. Our emails have an open rate of 24% and a click-through rate of 2.7%, higher than national averages.11 Over the past three years, the efficacy of our digital marketing has grown 10
Theatre Communications Group TheatreFacts 2012 industry report (http://www.tcg.org/pdfs/tools/TheatreFacts_2012.pdf) 11 National averages, as reported by PatronMail, are 20.18% and 1.6% respectively (http://patronmail.com/pmailweb/BenchmarkStats)
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as we have become more sophisticated with our digital search optimization and tracking, as well as behavioral targeting ads. Our ability to track these sales directly to purchase will change with the implementation of a new ticketing system in January 2015. Strategic Goals and Objectives: As part of our ongoing commitment to the Greater Philadelphia region, we strive to reach as many different segments of our community as possible with our work. To that end we will:
Develop and expand the Arden’s base of loyal and long–term audience members
Subscriptions are consistently the Arden’s greatest source of earned revenue and require the least amount of resources to acquire. Consequently, the Arden will continue to prioritize converting single ticket buyers to subscribers and will cultivate loyalty in our existing subscriber base by providing a great value, quality customer service, and deepening our audience’s connection to all aspects of our work. The Arden will continue to use the Leap of Faith, Priority Renewal, and Season brochure model for the Mainstage Subscription campaign, as it has proven to be successful, specifically in renewing campaigns. We will re-design our efforts for subscription acquisition to include digital marketing sites targeted to theatre consumers. Over the period of the last plan, the Cultural Alliance’s Funsavers Subscription introduced nearly 500 new subscribers to the Arden. Overall, the Arden sells at 88% capacity. In order to expand audience bases the Arden can increase sales at the beginning of each performance run and add performances to increase capacity. Direct mail continues to be our most effective mode to reach new Mainstage audiences and yet it drives significantly less business for our Children’s Theatre audiences. Through deeper analysis of direct mail efforts, we have been able to cut the number of direct mail pieces sent and send better tailored pieces to achieve the same level of return. In FY14, the average ROI for direct mail was $.18 to make a dollar for Mainstage, $.13 for Arden Drama School mailings, and $.40 for Children’s Theatre. We will continue to send targeted print pieces to patrons for our programming by using our own lists and those of other area cultural organizations, targeting the volume of direct mail and the recipients appropriately. The Target Resource Group and the Cultural Alliance’s List Co-op manage our list trades and purchases, and provide tools to analyze return rate. As we work to address the churn rate of our Single ticket buyers, we will implement campaigns designed to encourage repeat business. According to research from TRG Arts, conversion efforts are most effective when patrons are guided step-by-step ‘up the ladder’ to subscription and eventual donation. Currently, we recognize that there may be opportunities to encourage smaller ‘steps’ from our single ticket buyers, such as encouraging purchases to more than one show in a season, or moving from a discounted ticket into a full priced ticket. Our assessment has shown that we reach Children’s Theatre audiences through different tactics: direct mail generated a low response rate from parents of children while digital marketing has proven most effective. Both radio ads and outdoor marketing have also been successful tactics. It is interesting to note that Children’s Theatre families are almost three times more likely than Mainstage audiences to purchase tickets online: 30% of Children’s Theatre ticket buyers versus 13% of Mainstage. Over the next three years, in order to reach our
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Children’s Theatre audience goals, we will expand digital marketing, maintain resources for radio advertising and outdoor signage, and decrease our direct mail efforts. Arden Drama School families have become a larger part of our audience base. Surprisingly, our data analysis has shown us that that of the 1,807 students who have attended ADS over the past 3 years, only 254 have seen an Arden Children’s Theatre production. Believing that these families are arts inclined, we will design campaigns to encourage crossover between these two programs.
Identify and reach out to broader segments of the community in order to introduce them to our work and encourage audience members to return.
As traditional media coverage for the arts has decreased, we’ve become more creative in our outreach to the community. In response to the continuing shift from print media to online journalism, we continue to develop relationships with local and national bloggers. To enhance our online advertising campaign, we utilize online tools such as behavioral targeted marketing, search optimizations, and analytics to extend our reach. Over the next three years, we will continue to expand our online marketing presence, including implementing an image campaign to promote the Arden brand. The most significant factor in diversifying our audiences has been productions that address specific topics or communities. The most dramatic example of programming that has reached out to a new and broader segment of the community is Children’s Theatre, which serves our youngest (34% are school groups) and most ethnically diverse audience (32% minority audience compared to 12% of Mainstage audiences). Plays by writers of color or with diverse themes draw more diverse audiences. We will continue to capitalize on those productions and target these audiences to introduce them to the Arden. Shows that tie into the state core curriculum reach large numbers of teens from throughout the community. The Arden’s 2013 production of A Raisin in the Sun served over 5,541 group tickets and resulted in almost $93,000 in ticket sales. The Arden will continue to maximize opportunities provided by productions geared to teen audiences and student groups. It has been our experience that our location in Old City provides an opportunity to reach the tourism market. This is an area of growth; to this end, the Arden has designed a visitor campaign that includes a concierge program, Search Engine marketing, and is pursuing a partnership with Visit Philadelphia.
Keep our work as affordable and accessible as possible so that all those interested in experiencing our productions have the opportunity to do so
In 2014 the Arden implemented a small price increase—the first across-the-board increase in 10 years—made to address the rising costs of production. We will communicate our strategic discounting programs in order to keep our work accessible. We have maintained a large pricing range for performances to allow patrons to take advantage of lower prices on performance days with less demand. Other discounts include half price Friday nights for Children’s Theatre and special offers for targeted audiences (educators, student and industry rush, and Teen Arden). We will participate in discounting programs through vendors such as the Phillyfunguide, Goldstar, and Campus Philly’s Open Arts.
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Our commitment to underserved audiences extends to audiences with special needs. We currently offer Shadow Signed performances for Children’s Theatre to provide a fuller artistic experience for deaf audiences, and are the only theatre in Philadelphia to do so.12 In FY12— FY14, 551 students took advantage of this program. In addition, we will continue to make Large Print Programs and Assisted Listening Devices available and routinely offer Open Captioned and Audio Described performances. We will design a campaign to communicate this service and expand its reach to more than 1,000 by FY 2018.
Continually evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing efforts
We will leverage technology-based research to help us better understand and serve our patrons and improve the efficacy of our marketing tactics. To this end, we will:
Regularly survey our audiences to collect non-transactional information such as patron perceptions and background information, to gain a deeper understanding of our consumers and their behavior.
Install and implement new ticketing software to track and analyze patron transaction behavior. This new software will allow us to strengthen customer service and donor relations, while offering more robust reporting options. We will measure website content effectiveness and purchase conversion.
Maximize digital Campaigns, analytics, and test strategies in order to: design better email campaigns with open-rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates; utilize Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine marketing, and digital behavioral targeting to increase effectiveness of campaigns; and design social media campaigns and posts to increase audience engagement.
Unlike traditional ASL interpreting, in which the interpreter is located to the side of the stage, our interpreters are included onstage and incorporated into the action, becoming part of the stage picture and allowing our patrons with hearing loss to enjoy the performance more fully.
Arden Theatre Company
SECTION FIVE: FUNDRAISING Present Position: Philadelphia is still experiencing effects of the economic downturn present during the previous strategic plan. Considering the challenging fundraising landscape, during the past three years, the Arden has been very fortunate to maintain its levels of support and successfully complete a $5.8 million Capital Campaign to open the Hamilton Family Arts Center. The success of this campaign would not have been possible without the leadership of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, co-chaired by Lee van de Velde and Peter Hamilton. The Capital Campaign was instrumental in attracting significant leadership gifts, including two one-time gifts of $1 million and introducing over 350 new donors to the Arden community. As part of the campaign, the Arden engaged Jane Williams of Schultz/Williams to assess the Arden’s audience base. This information was utilized in the second phase of leadership gift solicitation and the broad base audience-ask that closed the campaign. Our largest source of operating support continues to be foundation giving, which comprises 33.5% of the Arden’s contributed income, significantly higher than the national average of 9.5%.13 We have received tremendous support from Philadelphia-based foundations, including The Pew Charitable Trusts, the William Penn Foundation, and the Independence Foundation. The Arden has received support from the national funding community as well, including the Shubert Foundation, Horace Goldsmith Foundation, and Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Over the past three years, we have capitalized on previous capacity building grants and leveraged our building project for additional support. This includes a grant from the Kresge Foundation to establish a Systems Replacement Fund (See FACILITIES and FINANCE); support from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation to establish Teen Arden, an after-school program that integrates area teens into the artistic vision of our company; and the Knight Foundation which funded the Arden’s First Friday program. Other capacity building grants include multi-year grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Independence Foundation to support artistic programming. Corporate support has remained level during the period of the plan. A large component of corporate giving is the Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, which fuels our in-school arts education program. Arden receives support from companies such as PECO, Comcast, and Susquehanna Bank as a result of this program. We recognize that the future of EITC is subject to change and must be monitored, particularly since it makes up at least $100,000 annually in the Arden’s corporate gifts. According to the 2012 TCG Theatre Facts, “after adjusting for inflation, average federal funding was at a 5-year low in 2012.” Federal, state, and local government budget reductions over the past three years cumulatively reflect a reduction of 88% in government funding to the Arden. Despite these cuts in funding, the Arden was able to garner government support of the Capital Campaign through Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). Individual Giving remained level during the period of the plan and makes up 9.18% of the Arden’s operating support. It should be noted that during this period, the Arden successfully completed a Capital Campaign with more than 1,000 individuals supporting the campaign at the same time that the Arden’s operating budget grew 23%. The Sylvan Society, the Arden’s major 13
Theatre Communications Group 2012 survey
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gift group, contributed a total of $878,340 to the Hamilton Family Arts Center between FY10 and FY14. Sylvan Society giving increased 66% between FY11 and FY13 but then decreased by FY14 by 22%. There was very little attrition in number of Sylvan members but a decrease in Sylvan gift amounts, which can be attributed to Capital Campaign pledge payments.
Special events are both a great source of income and a tool in donor cultivation. The 2013 Granfalloon, our 25th Anniversary gala fundraiser held in the newly opened Hamilton Family Arts Center, netting $102,000. This event honored the Arden’s eight former Board Presidents and celebrated a landmark moment in Arden history. Special Events are one of the Arden’s most volatile line items in our budget and the net of these events do not consider the enormous staff time allocated to these events. In order to manage donor fatigue, we have traditionally alternated years with Granfalloon and smaller special events. To encourage contributions that can secure the Arden’s long-term health, we instituted a planned giving program called the Legacy Society. Since its inception in 2010/11, we have grown the program from 7 members to 15, a 114% increase. Strategic Goals and Objectives: To meet the Arden’s artistic and educational goals, we require a stable flow of contributed income to underwrite our work and keep ticket prices and tuition affordable. To accomplish this goal we will:
Increase contributions to the Annual Fund and Sylvan Society 20% by FY18
In order to address the ongoing concern about the volatility of the Philadelphia funding landscape, we will work to balance the allocation of our sources of giving. We will focus our energy on an area with the potential for growth, individual giving. According to the 2012 TCG
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Theatre Facts, individual giving has increased 21% more than the rate of inflation over the past ten years, though there were fluctuations throughout. Therefore, individual giving remains the best option for growth to increasingly diversify contributed income. In the last plan we said we would increase subscribers who donate to 25% when in fact, by the end of the plan we had 17.9% of subscribers who donate. This is, in part, due to the focus on giving to the Capital Campaign as opposed to the Annual Fund. We will re-focus our strategies and staff time to address both the Annual Fund and the Sylvan Society, the Arden’s major gift program. We will re-commit to our goal from the last plan to increase the percentage of subscribers who donate to 25%. We will ensure that Sylvan Society renewal is 85% and Annual Fund has 90% retention, as compared to the 72% renewal rate of Sylvan and 82% retention of Annual Fund during the period of the last plan. Going forward, cultivation events and tactics will be put in place to deepen Sylvan relationships and encourage retention of current Sylvan members. Special engagement tactics will also be employed to leverage the transitions of donors new to the Arden through the Hamilton Family Arts Center campaign to become Annual Fund donors.
Create special events that drive income, identify new prospects, and improve donor relationships
Over the course of the previous plan, Arden special events exhibited divergent levels of success. The timing of the Arden’s 25th anniversary in 2012/13 (traditionally a year with a smaller scale event) presented us with the opportunity to experiment with a variation on our standard event model to great success. That event was our second highest-grossing event. We have found that the staff expends comparable time and resources on our off-year events, without a high return on the investment. Feedback has informed us that events offering insider access hold the most appeal. Our upcoming event in Spring 2015 offers a unique opportunity to capitalize on this. Capitalizing on the Arden's mission, we propose the introduction of a "Master Storyteller Award" to honor an individual exemplifying excellence in storytelling. Stephen Sondheim has been selected as the inaugural recipient. With this award we hope to garner sponsorships, publicity, elevate Arden awareness, and increase participation surrounding the event. Accordingly, our goal for special events over the next three years is as follows: 2014/15 Storyteller Award Net $75,000
2015/16 Granfalloon Net $75,000
2016/17 Storyteller Award Net $75,000
Grow participation in our planned giving program, the Legacy Society, with a goal of increasing our membership by 30% by FY18
Having established a planned giving program, our next step for growth will be to establish a Planned Giving Committee. The Arden currently accepts bequests, but we will design a strategy to grow and mature this initiative and set up more sophisticated methods of planned giving and corresponding benefits. Our goal is to increase membership in this program from 15 to 20 by FY18.
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Grow operating contributions from foundations by adding at least two new foundations to support general operations as contributors by FY18 and deepening our connection to existing and prospective funders
At this time of change in the Philadelphia funding landscape, the Arden will continue to cultivate our relationships with funders and ensure that funding aligns with our mission and planned programming. We will work to diversify our foundation funding with additional national foundations in order to strengthen our core support and raise our national profile. With general operating support at a premium, we will research potential funding from sources with an interest in supporting our artistic programming and capacity building for the organization. We will look at relationships forged with institutional funders during the campaign for the Hamilton Family Arts Center and work to continue those new relationships. In addition, we will seek to broaden our base of family foundation support. Finally, we will investigate support for professional development strategies for current staff.
Maintain our current level of corporate support and deepen our current relationships by increasing value of sponsorships to corporations
In the interest of better stewardship of our current corporate funders, we will work with our corporate partners to maximize the amenities and value included in their sponsorships such as employee benefits and participation, as well as advertising opportunities. We will continue to cultivate corporate leaders in an effort to identify potential new sources of corporate support. Over the course of this plan, it is our goal to have a meeting with every corporate partner in an effort to tailor their sponsorship to better serve their goals. The Arden will also continue to participate in Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program and promote the educational impact of our Arden for All program to corporate leaders and decision makers. We will be resourceful and identify potential in-kind gifts that allow us to accomplish our plan’s goals. A key example of this is our ongoing relationship with Harmelin Media whose support increases the impact of our advertising dollars by donating their media buying and strategy expertise. We will also establish a Corporate Council to help identify corporate prospects whose giving is aligned with our mission and programming.
Maintain our current level of government funding by expanding and cultivating our base of supporters within the new government administrations
The Arden’s Advocacy Committee has proven to be a valuable resource: providing networking opportunities with the elected representatives and guiding our efforts to access available resources from our state and local governments. As the political environment continues to shift, the Committee will address the cultivation of new committee members to ensure that the Arden maintains a bipartisan base of support and that our financial aid from government sources remains constant, rather than dependent on electoral cycles. The Committee will also work to develop more networking events for Arden staff with local, state, and federal representatives to ensure these relationships remain strong.
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SECTION SIX: FACILITIES Present Position: December 2013 marked the opening of the Hamilton Family Arts Center, a dramatic increase in the Arden’s facility footprint. With this expansion, the Arden’s three buildings—the main theatre facility at 40 N. 2nd Street, Actor House at 250 N. Lawrence Street, and the Hamilton Family Arts Center—strengthen the Arden’s position as a leader in this region’s cultural community and play a significant role in our capacity for growth and stability. The Hamilton Family Arts Center, located at 62 N. 2nd Street, is a 22,000 square foot, two-story building that includes 6 classrooms, a rehearsal hall, a studio theatre, a parent lounge, and a craft studio for scenic construction. Situated just three doors north of our theatre facility, the new building provides greater efficiencies, a home for our educational and new play programming, and strengthens the Arden’s commitment to our Old City neighborhood. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the building a “theater miracle on N. 2nd Street” and Mayor Michael Nutter said, “This new building is a reaffirmation of the Arden’s commitment to the children of this city. The Arden is really a model for what art can do in every neighborhood.” Over the past three years, working with Architect Richard Conway Meyer and contractor C.H. Schwertner and Son, the Facilities Committee, led by Board member H. Hetherington Smith, has dedicated significant energies overseeing the design and construction of the new facility. During this time, the Committee has also overseen the upkeep of our other two properties. In 2011, the Committee adopted a Systems Replacement Plan (SRP) for tracking and addressing future renovation, maintenance, and replacement needs for our facilities. The Systems Replacement Fund, seeded by a $290,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, will ensure that funds are set aside annually to meet these needs. Over the past three years, in accordance with the Systems Replacement Plan, we have invested $844,817 in the renovation and upkeep of the main theatre facility and Actor House to ensure that they support the Arden’s ever-growing audiences and programming. These improvements include lobby and backstage renovation for the theatre facility and a new roof for Actor House. Strategic Goal and Objectives: Our goal is to ensure that the Arden’s performance and support spaces continue to foster greater artistic opportunity, better serve our students, artists, and staff, and enhance the theatre-going experience for our patrons. To this end we will:
Monitor operations of the Hamilton Family Arts Center and oversee capital projects to fully maximize the building’s potential
We have operated the Hamilton Family Arts Center for one season and the building has successfully served our educational and artistic programming. As we planned, selected projects remain to be completed, including: outfitting the Studio Theatre with lights, sound, and seating; furnishing the dressing rooms; and the creation of a Technology Studio to house video production, digital design, and a recording studio. Working with the staff, the Facilities Committee will monitor operations and oversee the continued improvements of the facility as we expand programming and more fully utilize the building’s potential.
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Maintain, execute, and update the Systems Replacement Plan for all three facilities.
Prior to the creation of the Hamilton Family Arts Center, we engaged in an extensive renovation campaign to update and renovate our theatre facility at 40 N. 2nd Street. This included: upgrading the public spaces, including new bathrooms and a refurbished lobby; renovating the backstage spaces; replacing the roof; and installing new fire safety systems. For Actor House, in addition to the new roof, over the past three years we have done significant masonry repair to secure the building envelope. As such, all three facilities are currently in good condition. Over the past three years, the Facilities Committee updated the Systems Replacement Plan for each of our facilities in order to project future facility needs and to ensure that repairs and upkeep are performed in a timely manner. Moving forward, working with the Finance Committee and utilizing the Systems Replacement Fund, the Facilities Committee will continually monitor, execute, and update this plan.
Improve 40 N. 2nd Street by addressing necessary capital projects
In addition to the projected work for the Hamilton Family Arts Center (Studio Theatre, Technology Studio, and dressing rooms), the Facilities Committee will oversee two additional capital projects: 1) improving the north side of 40 N. 2nd Street; and 2) the expansion of the administrative offices:
With the addition of the Hamilton Family Arts Center and the increased activity in our neighborhood, the north sidewalk of 40 N. 2nd Street adjoining Cuthbert Street is a frequent path for pedestrians. To date, only nominal improvements have been made to this side of the building. The Facilities Committee will oversee the improvements that are needed to make this a natural and safe path between our two buildings, including: increased lighting; repairing the sidewalk; installing new sidewalk grates; and masonry work of the building’s north façade.
We have outgrown our current administrative offices located at 40 N. 2nd Street. With the Hamilton Family Arts Center, we have repurposed the former rehearsal space to accommodate our need for more office space. Over the next three years, the Facilities Committee will design a plan to renovate the administrative offices and support spaces. This renovation will include expanded office space, updated lighting, and the addition of an elevator to provide access to the administrative offices.
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SECTION SEVEN: GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Present Position: The Arden is governed by a dynamic and engaged Board of Directors who represent a cross section of the Arden community and are dedicated to carrying out the mission of the organization and furthering the goals of the company. The Arden’s Board currently consists of 32 members. The composition of the Board is guided by the Board Development Committee. The goals of the Board Development Committee are threefold: increase Board engagement; build a more diverse Board; and assess organizational needs as they relate to the composition of the Board and Board Committees. The major Board focus over the past three years was the creation of the Hamilton Family Arts Center. The Board provided outstanding leadership on all aspects of this endeavor: the Finance Committee oversaw the project’s financing and expenses; the Facilities Committee supervised the design and construction of the building; and the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, cochaired by Lee van de Velde and Peter Hamilton, spearheaded the fundraising efforts. Through this leadership, we successfully opened the Hamilton Family Arts Center on time and within budgetary constraints, announcing the completion of the Capital Campaign at the building’s grand opening. Board member participation was key in all aspects of fundraising for the expansion, with major leadership gifts from the Board and 100% Board participation. In addition, Board members participated in donor greetings held during the runs of A Little Night Music and Pinocchio. These greetings consisted of construction tours of the new Hamilton Family Arts Center given jointly by staff and Board members to share the importance and scope of our new project with current and prospective donors. Over the past three years, increased Board engagement has empowered the organization to respond to the changing landscape, meet challenges, and seize opportunities that have arisen. During the 2012/13 season, we combined our fundraising committees to create an Engagement Committee, co-chaired by Lee van de Velde and Nancy Elfant. The purpose of the Engagement Committee is to identify and provide opportunities for audience members, donors, prospective donors, and key stakeholders to deepen and increase their involvement with the Arden. The opening of the Hamilton Family Arts Center and the completion of the Capital Campaign required a great amount of time and financial commitment on behalf of the Board, staff, and stakeholders. It is important to note that, while pursuing this endeavor, the Arden remained artistically and fiscally strong thanks to the Board’s vision, extraordinary expertise, and oversight. Our 25th Anniversary celebration was the first event held in the newly completed Hamilton Family Arts Center. At this event, to show our appreciation for our Board leadership (both past and present), we honored the Arden’s eight past Board presidents. A plaque outside of the craft studio in the Hamilton Family Arts Center quotes Shakespeare’s As You Like It and captures the Arden’s view of our Board presidents’ leadership over the years: “This is no flattery: these are counselors that feelingly persuade me what I am.” In 2012, current Board President Brian Abernathy succeeded Ellen Foster, who continues to serve on the Board. Several of our former Presidents remain members of the Board, allowing the organization to build on a strong foundation and capture institutional memory and organizational knowledge. Brian’s commitment to the Arden began long before he joined the Board, having first moved to Philadelphia to participate in the Arden Professional Apprentice training program. Brian brings both strong institutional knowledge and a well-cultivated wider
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perspective of the Philadelphia region to the leadership of the Board. His success thus far is, in large part, thanks to his familiarity with all aspects of the Arden, his ability to balance priorities, and excellent leadership skills. He also represents the new generation of leadership in the Philadelphia region which is beneficial as we seek to attract younger Board members over the next three years. Attracting and retaining a talented and motivated staff has been one of the organization’s strengths in the past and will be an essential ingredient to ensure the Arden’s future success. During the Hamilton Family Arts Center Campaign, we strengthened our leadership team with the addition of a Director of Institutional Advancement, Jessica Calter. Calter played a key role in ensuring the efficacy of the Board, Committee Chairs, key stakeholders, and staff in making the Hamilton Family Arts Center a reality and successfully completing the Capital Campaign. In the past year, several management positions have turned over. We believe the additional energies required to complete the Hamilton Family Arts Center was the primary factor in these departures. However, the resulting transitions have allowed us to reorganize our staffing structure to meet our current priorities. Strategic Goal and Objectives: We seek to attract the highest caliber and most diverse team of Board/committee members, managers, and staff. To this end we will:
Develop and maintain a diverse Board that is fully informed, engaged, and inspired to execute its governance responsibility and develop the resources of the organization
Over the next three years, the Board Development Committee will seek out and cultivate new Board members who can provide new perspectives, strengthen the Board’s fundraising capacity, and fortify connections within the community. When recruiting, we will continue to seek diversity in the broadest sense, so that we have the benefit of as many viewpoints as possible, while focusing on two primary areas: increasing cultural diversity and recruiting younger Board members. Another goal for the Committee is to institutionalize the recruitment and onboarding process for Board prospects. To that end, we will create a mentoring program so that Board prospects have access to multiple points-of-view and a variety of engagement opportunities. Additionally, we will charge every Board member, not just those serving on the Board Development Committee, to reach out to their network to identify Board prospects. Traditionally and under our by-laws, new Board members join at our annual meeting. However, because the cultivation process can begin at any time, we recently reevaluated when we can vote on new board members and have made appropriate adjustments to our governance structure; we can now vote on a prospective officer at any full Board meeting throughout the year.
Maintain the high level of engagement and overall effectiveness of the Board
The importance of active and effective Board Committees cannot be overstated. Over the next three years, we will work to maintain and increase the effectiveness of longstanding Board Committees, including Board Development, Finance, Facilities, Personnel, Planning, and Engagement. We will continue to articulate specific action steps for each committee, in order to establish a clear sense of the organization’s expectations and measurements for success. Starting in fall 2014, and occurring annually at the first Executive Board meeting of each season, Committee Chairs will convene to discuss their needs (additional committee members, Arden Theatre Company
specific skills, succession plan for officers, etc.) for the upcoming year. We will also provide ample staff support to ensure that our efforts and priorities are aligned across the organization. We will continue to convene show-specific task forces, as appropriate, which will offer unique audience development opportunities. We will seek opportunities to deepen our engagement with current and potential donors through committee contacts, recognizing that committees are invaluable in identifying prospective Board members and future Arden stakeholders. Recognizing that the Board must meet the organization’s needs, the Board Development committee will develop an evaluation process. This biennial evaluation process will include a written self-evaluation and a full discussion with the entire Board. This process will help board members recognize opportunities that match their expertise and interests. This process will also identify the skills and background missing from the Board and provide individual members a better sense of what skills are specifically represented already. The Board Development Committee will continue to work to increase the Board’s overall effectiveness without increasing the number of Board members. Board members currently serve a two-year renewable term. Board members have voluntarily elected to rotate off the Board and, if appropriate, often return at a later date with renewed energy and fresh perspective.
Attract and retain highly qualified and well-trained staff through aggressive recruitment, competitive salary and benefits, and a healthy working environment
Staff retention and recruitment is vital to maintain the quality of the Arden’s work and institutional capacity. The Arden has a history of losing committed, talented staff to larger institutions that are able to offer access to deeper infrastructure, more support staff, and significantly higher salaries. Over the last three years, after a period in which staff salaries had remained steady, we made salary increases a priority. However, in several key areas, we continue to fall below the Theatre Communications Group’s (TCG) Salary Survey national average for theatres of our budget size. Over the next three years, we will prioritize increasing salaries as follows: in 2015/16, salaries will reach at least 85% of the national average; in 2016/17, salaries will reach at least 92% of the national average; and by the final year of the plan, Arden salaries will meet the national average for theatres of our size. In addition, the Arden will continue to provide quality benefits which include a competitive health insurance program, a flexible savings plan, a matching 403b program, and short-term and long-term disability. The Board will review the benefits plan and make appropriate recommendations to maintain the Arden’s competitive placement in the market. The Arden has a succession plan in place. This plan includes cultivating current staff and encouraging professional development. We strongly believe that professional development improves job performance, job satisfaction, and most importantly, trains our future leaders. Over the next three years, we will seek to provide the staff support and resources (both staff and financial) necessary to allow our employees to take advantage of professional opportunities external to the Arden. Because the Arden is a founder-run organization, it’s vital that we expand staff responsibilities and foster leadership within the executive management team. Currently there are staff members who possess the skills to guarantee the Arden’s future success and we will provide opportunities, both internal and external, to increase their capacity and confidence. In addition, we will ensure that there is appropriate support staff in place to allow management and leadership staff to raise their ceilings and meet the goals of this plan. Arden Theatre Company
SECTION EIGHT: FINANCIAL Present Position: The Arden was engaged in a capital campaign from May 2010 until its completion in December 2013. Designed to develop and open the Hamilton Family Arts Center, the $5.8 million Capital Campaign dramatically affected the Arden’s financial position, as well as the company’s operations. During the course of the campaign: the Arden created a Systems Replacement Fund, seeded through a grant from the Kresge Foundation; the organization’s operating budget increased 25% from $4.4 million to almost $5.5 million during the 2012/15 plan; Unrestricted Net Assets increased 60%; and the company increased its facility footprint by 50%, which allowed for an increase in programming and enhanced our ability to deliver our mission. The Capital Campaign affected the balance sheet in several ways: ▪ ▪ ▪
Total Assets increased from $9.1 million in 2011 to $14.6 million in 2014 Total Liabilities increased from $2.9 million in 2011 to $4.0 million in 2014 Unrestricted Net Assets increased from $6.1 million in 2011 to $10.6 million in 2014
The Hamilton Family Arts Center is the home of Arden Drama School, a program area with significant earned income potential. Over the past three years, in preparation for the increased capacity made possible by this new building, we expanded our class offerings and Drama School income grew by 40%. The Hamilton Family Arts Center also houses the Arden’s rehearsal and shop facilities which support the creation of Arden’s Mainstage and Children’s Theatre productions. Expenses relative to the programmatic expansion increased 21% and occupancy costs increased 19%. Throughout this growth, the company worked diligently to monitor and control these increased expenses. An initial stabilization of these expenses was achieved by June 2014. The Arden is committed to maintaining a strong cash position in order to provide effectively run operations and periodically meet special project needs. To accomplish this, the Finance Committee approved the creation of four distinct board designated funds which are segregated from the Arden’s normal operating cash. The Board-approved Investment Policy provides guidance to the Finance Committee and staff in the management of these funds. The four funds are: The Systems Replacement Fund ($654,000 as of 6/30/14) is designed to cover the capital demands of all three of the Arden’s buildings. This detailed plan estimates all projected building replacement costs through FY 2031. In addition to the Kresge support, the Fund is further capitalized through an allocation of depreciation annually. The current balance is equal to 10 years of planned capital improvements and replacements. The Artistic Fund ($460,000 as of 6/30/14) is designed to provide risk capital to support new play development and especially ambitious artistic programming. During the 2012/15 plan, this fund benefited from a significant increase ($165,000) as a result of positive market activity. There were no draws from this fund during the period of the 2012/15 plan. The Scholarship Fund ($288,000 as of 6/30/14) is a new fund which was initiated by a $250,000 donation from a single donor. This fund has increased $38,000 since its inception in 2013 due to positive market activity as well as donations allocated
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specifically to this fund. This fund is designed to use up to 5% of its annual balance for scholarships to Arden Drama School. The Endowment Fund ($79,000 as of 06/30/14) was established by a gift from a single donor who continues to provide investment management services with the approval of the Finance Committee. This fund increased slightly over the period of the 2012/15 plan and is designed to grow over the next ten years and provide income to support general operating expenses. The changes made to these funds were designed to support the company’s stability as well as fuel growth of specific programming that requires additional funding. We continue to seek opportunities to grow these funds. Strategic Goals and Objectives: We strive to maintain fiscal health and secure long-term financial stability in order to meet the artistic, educational, and institutional goals of this plan. To this end we will:
Maintain the fiscal health of the organization
Maintaining the company’s fiscal health has always been a priority for the organization. The Arden has a culture of continuous evaluation and transparency in addition to a history of a strong and engaged Finance Committee. After a period of rapid growth from 2010/13, the company is anticipating a period of slower growth, organizational stabilization, and expense management over the next three years. During 2015/18, we plan to undertake several activities designed to increase earned income and control operating costs. These activities relate principally to audience development and optimizing the utilization of the Hamilton Family Arts Center. By increasing attendance to our programs, earned income is expected to grow as follows: 2015/16 $3,318,940
The Hamilton Family Arts Center provides the Arden with a number of opportunities for high quality programming of its own as well as incremental revenue generation. We will continue to manage Arden Drama School as a net positive income generating program, while identifying potential revenue generating opportunities that can operate alongside the company’s current use of the facility. A task force has been convened for this project and focus groups have been identified to target ways in which the building can be maximized for other income producing activities (for example, daily rentals of the classroom space when not utilized by the Arden or evening rentals when the building would otherwise be empty). In tandem with the discussion of potential activities to increase revenue, we are engaging in an ongoing and robust analysis of associated expenses. In 2015, following the conclusion of two years of complete operations in the building, the Finance Committee will detail the building’s income and expenses which will then be critically analyzed and tested during the next two year period (2015/17).
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Maintain a healthy balance between earned and contributed income
In designing the operating budget following the Capital Campaign, we were cognizant of donor fatigue and the changing funding landscape in Philadelphia. The 2014/15 budget is projected to be 64% Earned Income and 36% Contributed Income, a departure from the model as defined in our 2012/15 plan, which was projected to be 60/40. In order to increase Contributed Income, we will invest in cultivating our current subscribers and single ticket holders to increase the percentage of audience members who give. We will target new donors who were identified during the Capital Campaign and encourage them to support the company’s annual fund while we continue to engage our current base of supporters to retain their support. In addition, we will strive to communicate the company’s financial stability to the general public in a time when the cultural community is struggling. We recognize that potential donors will seek stable, sound organizations when they are considering charitable giving options. Through these efforts, by the end of the 2015/18 plan, we will achieve an operating budget that reinstates that previous design of 60% Earned Income and 40% Contributed Income. Going forward, we will explore corporate sponsorships more deeply. Currently only five programs have corporate sponsors: Opening Nights; Arden Children’s Theatre season; the holiday Children’s Theatre production; one show from the Mainstage season; and Arden Drama School. There are several opportunities still available, including five productions. We will create a Corporate Council to focus on expanding corporate support and maximize sponsorship opportunities. (See FUNDRAISING for further enumeration on corporate support).
Design a Capitalization Strategy to enable the Arden to use its current assets most effectively
Historically, the Arden has used small surpluses and depreciation as working capital. Over the next three years, we will design a strategy for the management of the company’s working capital and create a Cash Reserve Fund. This Board designated fund would be separate from the daily working capital and would have a goal equal to 3 months of operating costs, currently estimated at $1.25 million. It is estimated that it will take approximately 10 years to fully fund this reserve. Tactics will include: funding through depreciation; allocating a percentage of annual surpluses; and donations and/or a percentage of ticket sales. The Arden will also design a capitalization strategy to further fund the existing Artistic Fund. The goal for this fund is $1.5 million and strategies to complete this fund could include a targeted fundraising campaign and/or earmarking a percentage of the annual fund donations. This Board designated fund’s earnings will be used to support new play development and other artistic endeavors requiring risk capital.
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FY15-FY18 Projected Operating Budget
Arden Board of Directors
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Arden Theatre Company FY15-FY18 Projected Operating Budget
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Responsibilities and Expectations of Arden Board Members The Board of Directors is an essential part of the health and vitality of the Arden Theatre Company. In partnership with staff leadership, board members are responsible for ensuring that the Arden fulfills its mission and remains fiscally strong and institutionally healthy. To meet that responsibility board members work to strategically advance the organization in three critical areas: Leadership, Fundraising and Positioning. Board members serve a two-year term and should be willing to make the Arden one of their top three volunteer commitments. In addition to subscribing to the five-play season and attending Arden Children’s Theatre performances, the following are specific expectations in each key area: Leadership Attend and participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (usually four per year, plus any special meetings as needed)
Provide high-level expertise and guidance as needed by staff in areas such as: legal, finance and accounting, real estate and construction, property management, fundraising, audience development, human resources and labor relations, diversity and planning
Provide meaningful service on any assigned board committee (Advocacy, Board Development, Development, Facilities, Finance, Marketing, Personnel, Planning)
Purchase two Arden five-show subscriptions
Fundraising Join the Sylvan Society with an annual gift of $1,000 or more
Provide significant access to potential financial resources by leveraging any appropriate contacts for corporate, foundation, government and individual support
Support the biennial Granfalloon gala and any other fundraising events either personally or via an affiliated corporation or foundation
Make a gift of personal significance to any special fundraising campaigns outlined in the Arden’s strategic plan or otherwise adopted by the board
Positioning Extend the Arden’s reach into strategic segments of the community (corporate, philanthropic, political, diversity, etc.)
Serve as strong positive advocates in the community, generating interest and awareness in our productions and programs
Identify potential board members and Sylvan Society members and cultivate their interest by bringing them to Arden performances and events
Be supportive and knowledgeable of the Arden's mission, activities and programs
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