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March 30, 2021
Dear Friends of Chautauqua,
It has been an eventful year for The Florida Chautauqua, one with both challenges and successes. In March of 2020, lockdowns and business closures affected us all during the global pandemic of Covid-19. During this time, we adhered to CDC guidelines by suspending all workshops, shows, and our scheduled “Raise the Roof,” capital campaign. While we did not achieve our fundraising goals, the monies raised were immediately used to help address roof issues in the theater. It was a difficult time and due to federal requirements, The Florida Chautauqua did not qualify for any government assistance.
As COVID restrictions began to ease, the Board recognized the need to diversify our revenue streams and has engaged in multiple projects to provide reoccurring revenue to the theater in addition to theatrical productions.
Main Street DeFuniak Springs put together a wonderful slate of activities for downtown and the theater joined in on the fun. Thanks to local sponsorships we were able to purchase equipment and host Christmas movies in the theater for the first time in 40 years. Community support for these movies was unbelievable and we look forward to hosting them again in 2021.
The Florida Chautauqua is collaborating with Emerald Coast Theatre Company, based out of Santa Rosa Beach, to provide instruction and produce theatrical performances with our young students. Recently, young performers were cast in roles for Dreamworks Madagascar and will perform on stage in April. Workshops and performances will return in the fall with a show to be determined.
In February this year we hosted Music on Main in conjunction with Main Street DeFuniak Springs. Live performances by singer/songwriters from the local region played and told stories about their inspiration for songs. We are excited to bring these songwriter sessions back for the month of May, so stay tuned for more information.
Annual general financial support is needed if we are to continue in our efforts to provide artistic instruction and programming. Our historic theater was last renovated in 1998 and many of the systems have exceeded their useful life requiring constant repairs. At this time, we find ourselves in dire need of additional roof repairs on our rehearsal hall, air conditioner units for the theater and other repairs for our aging historic facility. We plan on reviving the special “Raise the Roof” fundraising event in the fall, in order to help us raise the additional monies needed for facility repairs.
It is our hope that you will give serious consideration to your contribution by giving to our annual fundraising campaign and being involved in our “Raise the Roof” event.
We are an all-volunteer, 501c3 organization and your donations are tax deductible. Donations may be made by mail or through www.fcweb.org . I will be happy to talk with you, if you have questions about our needs and giving opportunities.
Todd Bierbaum, President