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Louisville’s Commonwealth Theatre Center launches campaign to fund operations beyond summer

 A group of actors sit around a table in costumes.
Walden Theatre Company
The Commonwealth Theatre Center, a merger of Walden Theatre and Blue Apple Players, is asking for donations to help keep programming running beyond this summer.

The Commonwealth Theatre Center, a merger of Walden Theatre and Blue Apple Players, was hit hard by the pandemic. Now, its leadership is asking for monetary support from the community to help save it.

Commonwealth Theatre Center is seeking emergency funding to help the organization sustain its programming.

“Without significant and immediate support, CTC will be unable to continue operations beyond our scheduled summer programs,” said artistic director Charlie Sexton in a video announcing the fundraiser.

Sexton said the center needs to raise $300,000 by July 31, with $150,000 of that needed by Thursday.

As of formally announcing the campaign Tuesday, Commonwealth Theatre Center had raised more than one-third of the funds needed to keep programs running.

“We have 40 plus years of alums, and I've been doing some individual outreach with alums and parents of alums and talking them through that,” Sexton told LPM. “Myself and the board, we've been scheduling meetings with individual donors and have been able to climb up to this point.”

CTC provides theater education, outreach and live stage productions.

Like several arts organizations, CTC was financially impacted by the pandemic.

Though some services like the conservatory were able to stay afloat with virtual offerings, other programs weren’t able to continue.

“Our outreach program pretty much came to a standstill there for the first period of time, the programming that we do in the schools,” Sexton said. “We have been slowly recovering from that. We just haven't quite reached the pre-pandemic levels that we experienced in the fall of 2019.”

According to Sexton, reaching the donation goal will help the organization continue in the coming months and years.

“We are feeling confident that what that sum of money will enable us to do is to add additional administrative staff that we've lost since the pandemic,” Sexton said.

He said as a nonprofit arts organization, about 40% to 50% of the CTC’s annual budget comes from contributions.

Beyond asking people to donate now, Sexton said CTC is aiming to get people to pledge to continue helping into the future.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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