Earlier this month more than 400 families tuned in for our celebratory virtual fundraiser, Fueling Transformation. If you attended, I’m sure you, like me, were inspired by the heart-expanding art which was virtually produced by nearly 40 different artists, and by the families and students who shared why they love SCT. Fueling Transformation served as a reminder that SCT’s community of families, art-makers and supporters are committed to reaching young people with theater and arts education, even during a pandemic. We joined together for an evening of joy and inspiration, and in the process raised over $300,000 to keep SCT strong and expand our reach.
This is a special moment for SCT. We get to be thoughtful about how equity and representation reflect who we are moving forward, and how we can be accessible to the widest variety of artists and audiences. We are taking concrete steps in these ways:
SCT’s future is bright. Our team of artists and educators is reinventing how we reach young people today as we plan to come back together in person soon. Generations of young people have identified SCT as their first arts experience and we know that with your help we will continue to do that for years to come.
SCT Managing Director
P.S. If you missed our event, click here to watch a joyful one-hour production celebrating the magic of SCT.
I am reaching out to you, one of our closest stakeholders, to share some of how we have navigated the last nine months. Like many of you, I look forward to the fresh start that 2021 brings, but I am also proud of this team as I reflect on 2020 and all we have been able to accomplish under these challenging circumstances.
Looking forward, we are actively preparing and planning for in-person Drama School offerings as early as April 2021, as well as launching our next season with an in-person production for live audiences late in 2021. These plans are exciting first steps even as we know it will take years to recover from the impacts of this pandemic. We are grateful for the steady support of our community as we continue this recovery.
Despite all these challenges, creativity abounds at SCT and we have accomplished remarkable work. Our reach has exceeded expectations through our role as a national co-producer of the virtual production A Kid’s Play About Racism, and our 10-week partnership with Classic King FM 98.1 for Saturday Morning Stories. In addition to this artistic programming, our Education Team has found a nationwide audience for new offerings like Tablecloth Theatre and Master Class Series, and old favorites, like Story Drama, which have been reinvented as virtual offerings.
I know SCT’s future is bright. Our 45-year legacy of artistic excellence and creativity is guiding how we adapt to these unprecedented circumstances. We are ready to engage with our community with new and innovative theatre when the time is right.
We are using this time to reflect on the social justice issues in our community, specifically on the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) sector, of which we are apart. We have an opportunity to hire new Artistic and Production leadership, and re-think our pricing structure to become more accessible for all families, as we rebound from this year. We are prioritizing access for our public-school students and re-building connections with educators who we’ve greatly missed this year.
SCT has the power to spark joy, build empathy and inspire hope, and young people need these tools now more than ever.
I am unabashedly hopeful for the future. Since March we have prioritized meeting young people and families where they are, reinventing our programs to serve them in this moment, and carefully stewarding our resources as we plan for the future. Through all this we have learned lessons that we will carry with us as we envision the next chapter for SCT. We hope you will continue to join us on this journey.
This year has left an impact on each of us in its own way. I am wishing each of you and your families health and happiness as we close out 2020 and look to a bright future.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Managing Direction, Seattle Children's Theatre
I’m not sure any of us anticipated just how much our daily lives would change in the months after the coronavirus outbreak. And yet here we are, more than 7 months in, and still adjusting to our new realities.
Here at SCT we made an early decision to forgo a traditional mainstage season, and we, like you, are waiting for the day when we can once again experience the shared joy of live theatre. In the meantime, we have invested in partnerships like Saturday Mornings Stories with Classical King FM 98.1 and A Kids Play About Racism, a virtual play produced in collaboration with 41 other TYA theatres nationwide (be sure to check out the curriculum for the latter, which was led by SCT and laid the groundwork for a series of residencies being offered through our Community Engagement programming this Fall).
We’ve also used this time to reinvent the offerings within Arts Based Learning (ABL), which takes theatre into schools across Washington State, this year virtually. ABL uses theatre to open important conversations about mental health and social emotional learning with Middle and High School students. Now in our 4th year of partnership with Kaiser Permanente, we could not have anticipated just how vital the work would become and are happy we were able to adapt these offerings for virtual classrooms when children need them most.
All of this reinvention has been incredible, and I am so proud of the SCT team and board of directors, who have all worked together to steward us through these uncharted territories and make sure we keep finding new ways to bring theatre and art to the youth of our region. But it leaves me yearning for a theatre packed with young people, laughing with Go, Dog, Go! or awed by the puppetry of Black Beauty.
SCT is rooted in bringing people together through shared experiences. We use the power of theatre and arts education to grow empathy, spark joy, and invite young people to engage in the stories that surround us. For over 45 years, SCT has shared stories with the youth of our region, reaching more than 5 million children, families, and educators.
We want to get back to that work, and are actively planning scenarios for live performances this Spring (anyone up for theatre in the park?), in person classes this Summer (are you kids ready to explore masked theatre?) and a mainstage season for 2021-22.
Until that time, we will continue to do what we do best, bring innovative theater and theatre education to young people, in whatever way we can safely do so.
Thank you for your support for the past 45 years, and your continued support as we inspire the next generation with empathy, hope, and joy!
Dear SCT Family,
This simple phrase is the start of every decision at SCT. Sometimes this informs which production might bring the most joy and laughter, or which classes will ignite creative learning. And sometimes, like right now, it guides us as we make the difficult decision to forgo producing a 20-21 season to protect the health and safety of our young people, staff, patrons, and artists.
Like so many other organizations, we cancelled in-person performances and classes through the spring and summer. As the global pandemic brought our community to a standstill, centering young people was the starting point as we developed a way to support our families through ticket and class refunds. Although it took a few weeks to understand the long-term implications for SCT and develop a refund system, we are proud to have been able to return more than $630,000 to 2,723 households and educators, prioritizing the families and schools with direct loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this process we could support Seattle’s working families by returning these funds—no matter how small—to be immediately re-invested in young people’s lives.
While this had a significant financial impact on the organization, it upholds the core value of putting children and families at the forefront of our decision making. Thankfully, we have seen many patrons donate tickets or become first time donors, and funders generously increase their support. And through it all, we are excited to welcome young people into virtual camps and classes. As of today, 640 students have registered for Summer at SCT!
I wish to extend my thanks to those of you who have invested in the future of SCT with your donations big and small. And those who have joined us on our virtual adventures. We look forward to serving our community in new ways, and returning to the stage when the time is right. Thank you for your investment in that bright future; our community's children are counting on it.