An Open Letter from Dan McCleary
Tennessee Shakespeare Company founder and producing artistic director
May 21, 2013
Dear Friend of Shakespeare.
The City of Germantown, TN, in which Tennessee Shakespeare Company resides, is proposing to eliminate entirely the City's education grant funding to TSC for the annual budget to begin July 1, 2013.
The City generously awarded education grants to TSC in varying sums for the past five years. TSC has always matched these grant dollar-for-dollar. For the past two years, this funding has totaled $70,000 each year for immersive, innovative, classical education for ALL Germantown students (not just theatre students). What's more, the grant is made possible not by tax-payers but by those of us (TSC included) who rent the Germantown Performing Arts Center in town. Now, the City wants those rental fees to help offset issues in their annual budget.
To our knowledge, TSC's education program is the only arts and education grant being proposed for 100% elimination.
The grant makes possible TSC's classical education program and free/discounted access to live, professional Shakespeare to thousands of students at the five Germantown schools, including free playshops, free residencies, Free Will Kids Nights, deeply-discounted morning matinees of all of TSC's professional productions, the innovative Romeo and Juliet Project, and the pre-show Prelude scenes.
The City says that the economy is forcing it to make difficult decisions. For those of you who have had your position eliminated or salary cut in the past four years, as we have done at TSC, I am sure you, as I, appreciate this position.
However, what we have never done at TSC is cut or eliminate a program that was more than doubling its return on investment financially while also providing a socially responsible and academically measurable service to our community. That would be a questionable business decision. And we certainly wouldn't be adhering to our mission.
I respectfully submit to you that the City, in proposing this education program de-funding, is addressing other priorities than its stated mission.
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