After the closure of its summer 2020 season in May, Maine State Music Theatre’s 22 Elm Street offices have been quiet. The more than 150 summer staff and crew never arrived and there has been no set building, costume or props making, or backdrop painting in the theatre’s 11,000 square foot shop. The eleven annual staff are working at half-time – focusing on planning the 2021 season and fundraising to make up the loss of this year’s revenue.
But recently there was a flurry of activity outside the MSMT offices as Crooker Construction provided long-needed paving of the building’s adjacent parking lot. The paving costs were part of a sponsorship trade package with Crooker for the 2020 season, and while MSMT hasn’t been able to provide the perks that go along with sponsorship – advertising in the program, mentions from the stage, tickets to performances, and more – Crooker came through with their promise and did the work anyway.
“Even though we will offer the sponsorship benefits to Crooker in future seasons, the fact that they did it now, while really getting nothing in return, is a testament to how much people in this community support one another,” said MSMT Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark.
And Crooker is just one of dozens of Maine businesses which have shown support by donating their sponsorship money without getting the usual benefits in return. In all, 40 sponsors have donated all or part of their 2020 sponsorship or advertising money to MSMT’s Lifeline Fund.
Kennebec Savings Bank, another Lifeline sponsor, recently provided a grant to help sustain MSMT and other theatres in Maine. Through its new KSB Supports Local Theaters program, they awarded $12,000 COVID-19 relief grants to five theaters within its service area, including MSMT.
The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on theaters throughout Maine and the rest of the country. In a recent study conducted by Americans for the Arts, 59% of arts organizations have remained closed since the pandemic began. At least ten percent believe they will not survive the pandemic, which equates to a potential loss of 12,000
“We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of companies like Kennebec Savings Bank and Crooker Construction,” said Clark. “Thanks to the support from business partners and the dedication of our patrons and donors, we will survive the COVID-19 pandemic and continuebringing Broadway to Brunswick.”
Maine State Music Theatre has announced its 2021 season and is selling subscriptions online at www.msmt.org or by phone at (207) 725-8769.