Gross $250k in a Single, Mission-Oriented Evening

by Beth Wood

in Financial Adaptation,National Conference

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(This post is a part of the Financial Adaptation blog salon curated by Adam Thurman for the 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach in Dallas).

20 venues, 300 artists, 150 volunteers, 40 restaurants, 930 guests and 12 staff members work together to create an unforgettable evening to celebrate the wealth of spirit in Northeast Ohio.

Pandemonium – it’s just as it sounds…

Over the past ten years, Cleveland Public Theatre has developed a unique model for a large-scale benefit. Each September, CPT produces PANDEMONIUM, featuring hundreds of local theatre, dance, visual and performance artists in unexpected places throughout the CPT campus. This is not a sit down affair; guests choose their own adventure by selecting from an overwhelming buffet of performances, food, and fun. Check out the video below – it will give you a taste of what PANDEMONIUM is like:

(Pandemonium 2012 from Raymond Bobgan on Vimeo. Video created by Ted Sikora.)

PANDEMONIUM consistently pulls in 10-15% of CPT’s annual operating budget through sponsorships, donations and individual tickets sales,  while keeping production costs low and production values high. In 2012, PANDEMONIUM had an income of nearly $270k and was attended by 1,400 patrons, sponsors, artists and volunteers.

The many benefits…

On the fundraising side, this benefit is structured like many others. We select an individual or couple from our region that has made extraordinary contributions to the community and honor them with the Pan Award. With the honoree’s assistance, we build a host committee that believes in this individual and/or CPT. With the support of the honoree and host committee, we solicit sponsorships for the event, ranging $250 – $20,000. Sponsorships account of the vast majority of PANDEMONIUM’s income – over $200k in 2012.

The “X” factor…

The thing that makes this event such a success each year is our community. To make PANDEMONIUM happen, we depend on our year-round supporters, our artists that call CPT home, and the greater Cleveland community. PANDEMONIUM is not only our opportunity to honor a worthy person in our region and raise money, it is CPT’s opportunity to allow our community to support and honor us by participating in the event. Local restaurants and chefs donate most of the food; members of the community donate their time as volunteers – plating and serving food, bartending, busing tables; local artists donate their time and talent to create original work and perform on 20 stages throughout our campus.

PANDEMONIUM is more than a benefit – it is a celebration of the Northeast Ohio Community.

More about who we are…

Cleveland Public Theatre is a professional theatre in Cleveland, Ohio committed to raising consciousness and nurturing compassion through ground breaking performances and life changing educational programs. We develop new, adventurous work and invest in Northeast Ohio artists. CPT operates with a 1.3 million a year budget; which funds 12 full-time staff members, a 51,000 square foot facility, 3 core educational programs, 10-12 full productions on one of three stages and 3 new work development series. Under the leadership of CPT’s Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan, we consistently run a surplus, even with this aggressive programming schedule.

Beth Wood is the Associate Artistic Director of Cleveland Public Theatre. After appearing on the CPT stage since 2002, Beth joined the CPT staff in 2007. An actress, educator, director, administrator and theatre technician, she holds a BA in Communications and Theatre from John Carroll University. A former Actor-Teacher for Great Lakes Theater, Beth has taught a variety of theatre and acting courses throughout Northeast Ohio, and has served as the technical director for John Carroll University, Lakeland Theatre and Stagecrafters. CPT acting credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mrs. Bob Cratchet’s Wild Christmas Binge, A Bright Room Called Day, Fefu and Her Friends, The Rocky Horror Show, Our Town, Pulp, Matt & Ben, Anna Bella Eema (co-production with Theater Ninjas), Open Mind Firmament, Don’t Call Me Fat andAkarui. As a director of adventurous scripted work, Beth’s CPT directing credits includeBOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (third U.S. production), Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang (second U.S. production),FEVER/DREAM by Sheila Callaghan, The SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris at PlayhouseSquare’s 14th Street Theatre, Antebellum by Robert O’Hara (second U.S. production) and in the Spring of 2013, There Is a Happiness That Morning Is by Mickle Maher. In addition to her work with scripted productions, Beth co-created and directed the acclaimed two-person cabaret show The Loush Sisters for PlayhouseSquare in 2011.