Hello friends of The Murphy Theatre,
We hope the summer is treating you with kindness and plenty of lemonade. I forgot how hot it can get down here, in what my former fellow Mainers consider “the south.” We also hope you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy one or more of the many concerts we’ve hosted here in the heart of downtown Wilmington.
As you would figure, with the expansion of programming such as we’ve experienced comes some growing pains. Coming out of COVID with occasional recurring spikes, dealing with concerns of a recession, inflation, high gas prices, competing with free summer outdoor events, and many other challenges have all affected our audience numbers.
I recently attended a historical theatre conference in Cleveland where a number of comparable theatres with a similar population base shared the same concern that we’re witnessing here. Nearly a year after coming out of “lockdown” their attendance numbers are, on average, still a meek 40%-60% of what they were prior to the pandemic. Many of these organizations don’t know how they’re going to market their upcoming 2023 season if they can even realistically put one together, and many more had to scale back their marketing and development departments. Some worry they have lost their secret recipe. Others think maybe that recipe is just a little more time and patience.
I’ve also asked a number of the acts we’ve hosted this season if our numbers are any different from other venues they have played recently, and with each reply the theme was consistent, inconsistency. In some instances theatres where these acts may have sold out in the past are now showing less than half the turnout. There has been no rhyme or reason, as with us, even with increased marketing efforts.
Learning their concerns was reassuring to us with our own issues. While we wish those theatres nothing but great success, because a rising tide lifts all boats, it brings us to reach out to our supporters at this time, for a little help over this bridge.
We are reassessing some of our upcoming concerts and moving them into 2023. Anyone who has purchased tickets for those initially scheduled for 2022 that have been moved have been notified. We feel the caliber of talent we’re bringing through these doors deserves larger audiences, and this extra time will provide sufficient opportunity for us to apply our improved marketing techniques. But it also allows us time for some much-needed cleaning and necessary repairs to this grand lady for the safety and security of our patrons. To tend to this, we need a little breathing room. We’ve been going at it nearly every weekend, in many instances with back-to-back Friday and Saturday night shows. But the cost to keep The Murphy Theatre alive remains.
We’ve tried very hard not to bog you down with requests for help. Many of you have been so generous with us already, as was evident in our record-breaking membership drive from last fall. If you have the means, we hope you might consider making an additional contribution to the theatre at this time.
We think it’s important to give back to those helping us, so any contribution of $50 to $99 that makes its way to us before the end of September will get you a $10.00 gift card to our bar and concessions Charlie’s. Any contribution of $100.00 to $199.00 will get you one free ticket to one of our remaining 2022 concerts and a $10.00 gift card to Charlie’s. Any contribution of $200.00 or more, we’ll double that to two tickets and a $20.00 gift card to Charlie’s. We think you’d agree that’s a pretty good deal. You can do this by check, or online by clicking the DONATE button at the top or bottom of this page. You can also stop in the theatre in person Tuesday through Friday from noon to 4:30, or ninety minutes prior to most shows.
And finally, we want to thank those who have been helping us out in our Food-raising Campaign. To date, we have delivered roughly 400 pounds of food on your behalf to the local food pantries. Our hope is by the end of the year that we can be hitting the one-thousand-pound mark. With your continuing generosity on both requests, we can reach that goal and keep The Murphy Theatre’s lights on for generations to come while helping out those less fortunate in our own community.
Thank you in advance for your help with our request.
Executive Director, The Murphy Theatre
We appreciate the support of our sponsors, partners, and volunteers for programming, publicity, event, and facilities support.