It’s official! BNTC’s application for a studio space in north Austin has been accepted. Two months from today we could be opening our doors to the public.
Notice I used the word “could” in that last sentence.
Let me give you a rundown of how we got to the position we are in and what needs to come together in order to turn our notice of approval into a signature on a lease:
You may remember from a previous post called, The Search for a Home, that I was considering a studio location on the north side of Austin but I wasn’t sure whether the location was right for what I wanted to do. I needed more time to research the potential in the area but I didn’t have more time because the space I had found was going on the market in a week and it was already proving to be in high demand. Well, in spite of the pressure to make a rush decision, I continued with my research and, the more I looked around, the more obvious it became that I would really be loosing out if I didn’t make a move on the north side location.
I decided I needed to make an application but I was told that I would still have until October 1st before I had to make a decision about whether or not to sign the lease. This would give me time to continue with market research and to look for a renter(s) interested in using the space during the day.
Sub-letting the space is a major aspect of the business plan because theatre people are not known to be early risers. (In fact, after looking at my fund raising campaign, someone recently suggested to me that there are a number of disturbing similarities between actors and vampires…Perhaps I’ll need to look into that before moving forward with my plans…) For the first six months to a year, I’ll probably only be able to use the space for my own work in the afternoons and evenings, so having someone else make use of the space during the day could cover a large portion of the rent. Daytime renters and donations will hopefully enable me to offer more affordable classes in the evenings.
I felt sure I would have a better idea of whether or not I wanted to make the move by October so I put in my application. As it turns out, I actually have even more time to make my decision than I expected. When my application was accepted, I was given the option of waiting until November to sign the lease and move in.
A big part of me wants to move in today but the part of me that likes to sleep on occasion, knows that an extra month to get everything prepared would considerably diminish the insane amount of work I’ll have to do in the first three months. So, I elected to wait.
I actually feel amazingly good about the decision. Keeping classes running during the winter holidays is a very difficult task but moving in just before the holidays means that I’ll be able to set up open houses, trial classes and pre-enrollment discounts during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Giving people a chance to “try BNTC on for size” will likely mean much larger enrollment numbers in the new year.
So, that’s how far things have gotten. A space has been selected. The application has been approved. The move-in date has been determined. I’ve got a few possibilities on the burner for the space share and I’m working hard to get the word out to others. Lots of people are checking out BNTC’s fundraising campaign online and I’m about to set dates for open houses.
On one hand it looks like everything is coming together like clockwork. On the other hand, I’ve had a knot in my stomach since I found out my application for the space was approved because at least two of three important goals have to be reached before I can make the official decision to sign the lease.
1. The Keep Actors in the Dark fundraising campaign has to be successful.
2. I have to sub-let the space during the day.
3. I have to find people who are willing to provide regular monthly support for the first year that BNTC is in business.
I feel optimistic that I am making positive steps in the right direction and I believe that all of these goals can be met in the next two months. However, I’ll probably feel a bit queazy until I see a little more progress in all three areas.
Here’s how far we’ve come towards each goal.
We got off to an awesome start but the donation amount hasn’t moved from $551 in over a week. I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the support and encouragement I have received so far in the form of those first donations, kind words and the number of people who have encouraged others to check out the campaign. Now, however, is the time for me to actually use the words, “please give BNTC some money.”
On my list of awesome things to do every day, asking for money always ranks right at the bottom but, in light of the potential that I’m seeing for BNTC and the absolute necessity of starting off on the right foot financially, I have made it the only thing on my list for today. It is still at the bottom…but since it is the only thing there, I can’t avoid it.
I hope that you will consider making a donation. It doesn’t have to be big. I did the math. If 344.9 people give $10 we will reach our goal. That doesn’t seem hard. The most difficult thing about that will be getting people to go ahead and give $10 instead of waiting to be last so they can get away with only paying $9.
As BNTC grows, the company will have contacts in Austin to draw on for support, but at the beginning, I am really dependent on the people who are watching the evolution of this company and rooting for it’s success. At the moment, most of those people are friends and family. The exciting thing about that is that, you know me, you are connected to my life and you will be there to celebrate each step in the success of this dream. If you have been thinking about donating but just haven’t decided on an amount, please help us make a push forward this weekend by giving five or ten dollars. If you were wanting to give more, check back later and see how things are coming. It will give you a better idea of what the need is. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Just in case you missed all the links to the fundraising site, I’ll put this widget here so you don’t have to search.
Please Note: The Brand New Theatre Co. is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The Brand New Theatre Co. must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
2. Space Share – I’ve spoken to several teachers and artists who have expressed an interest in teaching day-time classes. Now that I have an official move-in date and permission to start surveying residents in the area about their interest in the classes that BNTC and the Space Share teachers might like to offer, I hope that some of that interest will turn into commitments. If you are interested in space share, it is not too late to reserve the dates and times you would like. Just fill out the form on the Space Share page in the Calendar section of this website to let us know what your interests are.
3. Regular Monthly Donors – We are hoping to find 20 regular supporters who are willing to donate between $50 and $75 each month to help with our ongoing expenses such as: rent, office management, artists fees, classroom/studio needs and production expenses. Donations will enable us to offer tuition and ticket prices at a much more affordable level so that our work is accessible to a broader spectrum of the Austin population. We have heard from a handful of people who are considering making regular donations but we need quite a few more. If you would like to be one of them, you can set up your monthly donations through Fractured Atlas. (Just click on the link in the top right hand corner that says “automatic monthly contribution.”)
Once again: The Brand New Theatre Co. is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The Brand New Theatre Co. must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Those are the three goals I’m working towards. Before I sign the lease in November it will be necessary to have seen a reasonable amount of success in all three areas or to have had complete success in at least two. There is no exact formula for the combination of these three factors that must be met in order for the move to go forward. I could give you about fifteen different combinations of numbers in each category that would add up to success….Trust me…I wake up every morning thinking about the various ways this could come together and those thoughts are the last ones clinging to my conscious mind as I drift off each night. The point is, you probably can’t meet all three of these needs but you may be able to help with one or two of them. If you can, I hope you will. It will have a major impact on where I’m writing from two months from today.