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A Look at 2014, and a Look at Our Needs Ahead

Photo cardDear NBYT Friends and Family,

With the end of another calendar year nearly upon us, NBYT is looking back at all we’ve accomplished in 2014! The theater offered more programs and productions, served more children and teens, and entertained more audience members than in any previous year. We couldn’t be prouder of our growth and accomplishments. And we know that we have all of you to thank for that too!

The year’s end is also a time to review NBYT’s financial condition. Low participation fees and ticket prices cover only part of the theater’s operating expenses, and we rely on a generous community to make up the difference.

Educational Programs

In May 2014, NBYT completed year-long after-school literacy-based drama programs in six New Britain elementary schools; NBYT also served two New Britain middle schools in the academic year ending in 2014. In the fall, NBYT began year-long after-school programs in six elementary schools and returned to the same two middle schools. In total, NBYT enrollment in New Britain public school extended-day programs was over 400 students.

NBYT reached students outside of New Britain public schools in 2014 as well. A partnership with Plainville Community Schools that began in the fall of 2013 continued into the spring of 2014 and into the 2014-15 school year. Students at two elementary schools and at the Middle School of Plainville participated in after-school programs. In Bristol, NBYT participated in the “Minds in Motion” enrichment at Greene-Hills School. Preschoolers were served at the Family Wellness Center in New Britain, where NBYT offered a monthly class. NBYT also brought programs into Hartford public schools through the Hartford Performs organization. Outside of New Britain public schools, NBYT reached over 200 more students.

During the summer of 2014, for a fourth year, NBYT participated in a summer enrichment experience (“SEE”) in New Britain elementary schools. These summer school programs benefited approximately 100 New Britain students, and not only did they reduce summer learning loss, but they helped contribute to summer learning gains!

First at Trinity-on-Main Performance Center and then at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA, NBYT continued Stage Performance classes in acting, improvisation, and musical theater. Themes in fall classes included advanced acting students performing from Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, and musical theater students performing songs of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. NBYT also continued its homeschool enrichment program—in the spring creating and performing Wizards, Gods, Elves, Princesses & Time Travelers: Adaptations from Modern Works, and in the fall American Heroes, Legends and Folktales.

Early in 2014, NBYT offered two workshops: Auditions Skills and Musical Theater Movement and Dance. In the summer, a six-week Improv Workshop became the first NBYT program offered at the YMCA. Educational programs directly at NBYT during 2014 enrolled over 100 additional children and teens.

Productions and Performances

In March, NBYT held the second annual You Can’t Do That at NBYT!—a combination performance, karaoke party, and silent auction for the theater’s fourth birthday. (Our third annual You Can’t Do That at NBYT!—in celebration of NBYT’s fifth birthday—will be held on March 14, 2015. Save the date!)

In April, the first season of the Little Kids on Stage! series continued with The Tale of Snow White. Due to an exceptionally high turnout at auditions, two complete casts appeared in two performances each. Also in April, the NBYT Teen Company performed Great Expectations, based on the Charles Dickens novel. In the Kids on Stage! production series, a cast of nearly forty young actors performed James and the Giant Peach, based on the Roald Dahl story.

The summer musical, Into the Woods Jr, brought together actors from ages six through sixteen to stage Stephen Sondheim’s popular musical at Raymond Hill School. (Registration for the 2015 summer musical, The Wizard of Oz, will begin soon!)

In the fall, NBYT began its fifth season of productions. The Little Kids on Stage! program opened with Rumpelstiltskin. The Kids on Stage! production of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman was the second most-attended NBYT show ever (and the most attended of shows with only three performances).

Also in the fall, the NBYT Teen Company held auditions and began rehearsals for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (to be performed in Hartford in February 2015). Members of the Teen Company who had taken an Improv in Performance class also formed an improv troupe in the fall. The troupe, named SquishyTown Asylum, will hold its first performance in January 2015.

NBYT’s first school touring production, The Cinderella Project, brought adult actors to perform an original script for elementary school children. In November and December, NBYT performed at three New Britain schools for approximately six hundred students.

During the year, NBYT held a total of forty-nine performances and share days, directly served over 1,000 participating children and teens, and entertained over 4,700 audience members. Participants in NBYT programs have now come from fifty-one different towns in Greater New Britain, Greater Hartford, the Farmington Valley, and throughout Connecticut.

Financial Needs

Despite growing each year, NBYT is still a struggling nonprofit challenged with meeting expenses. In 2014, participation fees and ticket sales for The Tale of Snow White, Great Expectations, James and the Giant Peach, Into the Woods Jr, Rumpelstiltskin, and A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman paid for only 59% of the costs of producing those shows. We don’t want to raise participation fees or ticket prices any further; it’s important (and, in fact, within the NBYT mission) to provide low-cost programming. Therefore, for the remaining 41%, we rely on funding from supportive foundations, government agencies and organizations, corporations and small businesses, and generous individuals.

Please help NBYT to succeed and continue to produce quality performances both by and for your children and others like them in Connecticut. We’re not asking anyone to give or do anything more than they can. If you can, however, here are ways that you can help:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation to NBYT by clicking on the button below, calling us with credit card information, or sending a check to New Britain Youth Theater, P.O. Box 306, New Britain, CT 06050-0306.
  • Find out if your workplace has giving programs to which NBYT might apply. Often, preference is given to nonprofits which employees support and endorse. Sometimes NBYT may be written in in United Way workplace giving campaigns as well.
  • Encourage businesses, large or small, to purchase ads or sponsor a production. Program advertisements begin at just $30, and business sponsorship begins at $250. Any business interested or seeking more information may contact me at 860-515-8115.
  • Tell friends and family about NBYT—especially families with children—and encourage them to participate and attend our performances.

We know that many of you reading this support NBYT already, and we’re truly grateful and blessed to have that support. Happy New Year to all, and we hope to see you in 2015!

Darren Farrington
Executive Director

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