PORTLAND, Me. — Threatened with extinction if it didn’t raise $270,000 by May 31, the nonprofit Portland Stage Co. averted disaster by beating its deadline and its goal amount. It raised $288,725 by the close of business on May 19, a sum that had increased to $294,000 by May 25.
It will now definitely have a 1999-2000 season, its 26th, which will open Sept. 28 with Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.” And a feasibility study is currently under way for the launching of a second, multi-year fundraising campaign aimed at establishing a permanent PSC endowment to ensure the long-term stability of the resident theater.
The campaign to raise $270,000 by May 31 was essential to defray anticipated deficits of the PSC’s 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.
The bulk of the money was donated by individuals across the region who gave $25 to $150 apiece and sent a deluge of letters of support and praise. A number of individual gifts ranged from $200 to $1,000 and several were in the $5,000 to $15,000 range.
In addition, all of the members of PSC’s board of trustees contributed to the campaign. “The tremendous response from the community has been incredibly uplifting and encouraging,” says PSC artistic director Anita Stewart.
The only theater of its kind in northern New England, the PSC is a League of Resident Theaters (LORT) class D theater that produces an average of seven plays September through May and offers educational and outreach programs to students and adults.
Among the contributors to the PSC’s successful campaign were students from an English class at Yarmouth High School, located in a small town just outside Portland, who wanted to ensure that future students will be able to experience live theater as they had.