Forging Ahead Recovery Plan

Help Live Arts be a source of connection during Charlottesville’s recovery

We invite you to help Live Arts recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19 and be a source of personal connection in this time of physical isolation.

For 29 years, Live Arts has been a force for bringing the community together in good times and in bad. Today is no different. As we head into our 30th anniversary season, we ask you to be a part of bringing Charlottesville together in a post COVID-19 world. Through creative expression. Through meaning-making. Though volunteer engagement. Together, we can restore the heart as well as the health of the community.

Please consider a meaningful gift to help our 1,200 volunteers launch our 30th anniversary season with provocative plays, exploratory workshops, youth camps, and the ties that bind a community together.

As artists, we view every challenge as an opportunity for creative expression. The world calls that innovation. We call it art. You make it all possible with your volunteer time and your financial gift.


1. Close this year’s $409,500 income gap triggered by the COVID-19 crisis by June 30, 2020 through a combination of earned income, expense reductions, government and foundation grants, unused ticket donations, and $250,000 in community giving.

Two factors contributed to our income gap:

  • $210,400 in lost gross income from program postponements and cancellations after our theater was forced to go dark March 14, 2020 in the interest of protecting public health. Four shows, May education programs, summer camps, and our Fringe Festival tech support were adversely impacted.
  • $199,100 in unrealized income from budgeted space rentals, playbill advertising, sponsorships, cancelled fundraising events, and individual giving.

Causes of Income Gap Pie Chart

2. Forge personal connection in a time of physical isolation by launching a new livestream theater retrospective in May.

3. Increase earned revenue by $31,000 during next year’s season by expanding the number of productions, optimizing the number of subscriptions, and expanding our sponsorship program.

We are working to reduce our income gap in 2019-20 by at least $160,000 by doing the following:

  • Reduce operating expenses by $112,000–including 20% staff salary reductions through June
    and the production costs associated with the cancelled or postponed shows.
  • Invite patrons to donate unused tickets to cancelled shows–expected to generate more than
  • Eliminate travel, housing, and productions costs associated with the Fringe Festival project.
  • Convert spring education classes to paid online offerings.
  • Move production cost for our summer musical into the 2020-21 season.
  • Apply for local and SBA emergency recovery grants and forgivable loans to cover working capital
    (payroll, utilities, rent and accounts payable).

We are also asking community members to contribute $250,000 by June 30, 2020 toward our Forging Ahead Recovery Campaign. We have convened a nine-person Campaign Committee to personally reach out to people whose lives have been touched by Live Arts. The Committee is led by Live Arts Board Chair Cameron Mowat and comprised of board, staff, founders, and long-time supporters of Live Arts.

We expect the COVID-19 crisis to have a long tail that carries into next season. Therefore, we are exploring ways to increase our earned income by at least $31,000 in 2020-21, including:

  • Adding a Founders production in early September with 12 performances and minimal
    production costs.
  • Running two Founders productions in rep (12 performances each).
  • Splitting subscriptions into a Gibson Theater package and a Founders Theater package to
    increase the total number of subscriptions sold and lessen dependence on single ticket income.
  • Expanding our sponsorship opportunities to include education programs and design department
    (scene shops, lighting, costumes) opportunities.

Our building is closed to the public, but our staff is still working hard at home. 

Most of our staff is working remotely in compliance with Governor Northam’s temporary stay-at-home order. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions, concerns, suggestions, or just to check in! We miss seeing your faces in the theater each day, and we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via email.