TL;DR - Help pay actors so we can put on a quality show with no financial barrier to entry.

Most of the actors I work with have other jobs. Many of us cobble together a living from various work inside and outside the arts. Some of us don’t need to be paid to create theatre because of other work. But regardless of individual need, when I put together a show I aspire to pay actors for the hours they work. Because I think creating theatre is valuable work that should be compensated.

With Elsewhere Shakespeare I’m putting on Richard II in North Adams, MA, on Memorial Day. A quick glance at stats available on the internets tells me that North Adams is the least affluent city in Berkshire County, and that about a fifth of the population lives below the poverty line. I’d like everybody who wants to see this show to be able to see it, regardless of means.

That doesn’t mean the art that this company of actors is putting together is worth what you pay at the door – i.e. nothing, or whatever you care to donate. What it means is that in my mind the art is worth so much that I can’t put a price on it, and I don’t want anyone to be excluded from it just because they don’t have “disposable” income. (There are far more than enough other barriers to entry, like transport, access to marketing to even know about the thing happening, and the “disposable” time needed to spend an evening seeing a show.)

It’s going to take us roughly 25 in-the-room hours to put on this show. That includes the performance itself, but it very much doesn’t include the many many hours the actors are already spending learning their lines and doing other necessary preparations for their roles.

To pay a single actor a living wage just for those in-the-room hours would cost about $550. There are seven of us.

There aren’t any big theatre companies involved in this production. There are no boards of directors and no yearly budgets. Essentially we are a group of committed artists gathering together (currently) at our own expense because we believe in what we do. We are gambling a bit and putting in our own resources to produce this show. There’s a chance we each walk away with close to nothing for all the energy and time we put in. We’re ok with that risk, because we believe in what we’re doing.

If you also believe that providing exciting, challenging, and just plain entertaining theatrical work to the public with a low-low-or-no financial barrier to entry is a worthwhile endeavor, and you have some money you can give to the cause, we deeply appreciate your tax-deductible donation.