All I need is a bell and a red kettle

On Thursday I sent out my first fundraising letter ever.

I’m sure that many of you reading this have, in your theatre lives, sent many a “please donate” letter. I have always been called in as a fixer on projects. Even in the companies where I was a member, fundraising was not my problem. The productions themselves were my problem.

And there is a certain level of humiliation in having to send out a “I can’t support my art” letter that I was not accustomed to. Indeed my proofreaders could tell you the first version of that letter was twice as long as the (still inappropriately long) version that got sent out. It was full of reassurances that we were doing everything we could to be responsible, and apologies for even asking…

We cut them. They were right. And honestly? If you’re asking for strangers money all the assurances in the world don’t matter, you are producing beyond your means.

But setting aside your ego to ask family, friends and internet strangers for money is nothing compared to that humbling moment when a donation comes in.

My boss was the first to donate. She bought 4 days of me not smoking. I cried.

I did, and I’m admitting it on the internet.

I expect my Mom to donate. I expect certain of my friends to chip in. But this woman isn’t interested in my art at all. She is interested first and foremost in me not smoking, and secondly, she knows that I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need it, and that I wouldn’t do a project that I didn’t really believe was worth it. That was good enough for her.

That level of trust is humbling.

How the hell do I make sure the show is worth that trust?