Totem Pole Playhouse needs change, funds to survive, leaders say

August 29. 2012 9:00AM - Last modified: August 29. 2012 9:12AM

Heather Stauffer

Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville needs cash and a return to larger productions if it is to continue to exist, the nonprofit said this morning.

Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville needs financial help if the curtain is to rise on its 63rd season, its leaders say. Photo/Submitted

According to a news release, a combination of low revenue and rising costs led the board of directors to announce a campaign to raise $250,000 by Oct. 1. It also anticipates a need to implement tiered pricing to reflect the costs of larger productions.

Although the playhouse has kept ticket prices “stable and low for a number of years,” it said it relies on ticket sales to cover as much as 80 percent of its production budget, whereas similar companies often need ticket sales for only 40 percent, making up the difference in tax-deductible donations and other grants.

The smaller shows the company has been producing lately to keep costs down have proved harder to market and less popular with audiences.

“We need shows that people recognize, that they're excited about, so we can fill the seats,” said artistic director Ray Ficca. “We don't have the financial resources right now to even begin thinking about productions of that size, and to get there, it's going to take some help."

Totem Pole was started in 1950; the upcoming season would be its 63rd.