The Cost of Free
Dear Trouper,


Facing challenging times, the San Francisco Mime Troupe is evolving. At the same time, we're grappling with an acute shortfall right now that is jeopardizing our 2013 show. Over the past several years we, the Mime Troupe Collective and Board of Directors, have recognized the need to innovate both organizationally and artistically in response to shifting funding, arts and technology landscapes. We're making significant strides but we're at a pivotal moment and need our remarkable community to step up.  


For SFMT, like for many arts and political organizations, key funding that we have received for years hasn't come through this year.


Meanwhile, the cost of "free" keeps getting higher. "Free shows in the park" don't come cheap. People are often surprised to learn that "invisible" costs like required park fees, park staffing, porta potties, etc. make up approximately 30% of the expense of each performance. We've cut the costs under our control as much as possible, with Collective members working many hours without pay. We do not have the same flexibility with "invisible" costs.  


You can read more about this situation here, but the short story is that we need to have at least $40,000 more in hand by the end of April to start mounting our show (in addition to our current cash reserves and projected donations from our upcoming summer appeal). Beyond that, we need to raise enough money in the coming year to develop and begin implementing a long-term strategic plan, including broadening and strengthening our funding base and organizational infrastructure.


The 2013 show is shaping up to be a great one, by the way. The theme and working title is "Oil and Water", focusing on the dangers posed by impending climate change and, importantly, how we can unite in ways big and small to create needed impact.  


Nimble as always, the Troupe is looking at a wide variety of options including running a shorter season, using fewer paid actors and musicians and creating simpler, more portable sets. This will not only save money, but will set an example consistent with our theme by having a smaller environmental footprint.


Collective member Keiko Shimosato Carreiro has inspired us with an environmental image from a recent dream: desert cactus flowers survive drought by putting down deep tap roots. You are SFMT's tap roots.


If you're one of the lucky people who's been able to ride out this recession, we're asking you now to give as much and as soon as you're able.


If you're working, think about giving an hour's pay, or even a day's pay, to bring "Oil and Water" to parks this summer. Since some of you may not be able to give, if you yourself can do more, we'd appreciate it. And for all, please forward this to your friends that care about SFMT's one-of-a-kind political theater.  


Here's the link to where you can donate.   




Thanks in advance for your solidarity!


The Collective:  

Velina Brown, Ellen Callas, Michael Carreiro, Ed Holmes, Lisa Hori-Garcia, Lawton Lovely, Pat Moran, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Michael Sullivan, Wan-Yin Tang, Victor Toman.


The Board:

Earl Crabb, Ron Davis, Merle Goldstone, Joan Holden, Ed Holmes, Becky O'Malley, Eduardo Robledo, Joel Schecter, Peter Snider. 



SF Mime Troupe 855 Treat Ave. San Francisco, CA  94110


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