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Letter from Stage Door Players' Board of Directors

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Stage Door Friends:

Thank you so much for your passion for Stage Door and investment in its well-being. The community’s strong ties to the theater over the last 46 years are what make it a truly unique place and it is the board’s sole focus to continue that legacy. The Stage Door Board has been working tirelessly to keep the theater viable and relevant within our growing and diverse community. Our goal is to weather these difficult times with a renewed emphasis on artistic expression, community engagement and digital programming. Our dedicated group of professionals and community volunteers have been meeting on a weekly basis to craft sustainable plans for the theater’s future. We cannot enact these changes without your help, support and involvement.

The Stage Door Board has been crafting a strategic plan for the past year to help us address what we, and many in the community, felt to be shortcomings in our operational, brand and artistic strategies. These plans have certainly been impacted by the pandemic, but we are resolute in our mission to fulfill our commitments set forth by current and former board members. It is our goal to create a much more transparent relationship between our board and you, the patrons, supporters, volunteers, cast, crew and community at large. We hope you find the following information insightful and see it as the beginning of a dialogue that we encourage all of you to continue to take part in.

The love that so many of you have shown for the wonderful performances that were cast, produced, and directed by our talented Artistic Director is a testament to the impact of art and theater in our community. Our goal is to bring you more of the same quality programming that you have grown accustomed to as soon as it is safe to do so. We will also emphasize programming that will attract new patrons and demographics who are not yet part of the Stage Door family. However, with the uncertainty of any sort of time frame on live performances, it is more necessary than ever to address some of the structural and strategic shortfalls that the board has a responsibility to address. Below are a few of those issues:

1. For many years, Stage Door did not have a formal strategic plan in place. The board felt that it was time to refine our mission statement, the organization structure, and strategic goals to coincide with the changing community we serve and count on for support. This plan was developed throughout multiple board retreats and meetings with consultants and outside experts. The plan was refined and voted on by the board. This needed to be in place to help us with grants and possible sponsorships.

2. Stage Door has evolved as a professional theater but has limited assets to produce professional performances. The majority of the lighting and sound equipment that was used for productions was rented or borrowed, not donated or owned by Stage Door. This brought up liability, maintenance and scheduling issues as far as using the equipment inside the theater for other types of productions and use-cases. The board feels that this is an opportune time to assess these technical limitations and implement a system that will work well for opportunities outside of just the “Main Stage” productions.

3. Stage Door must keep up with the changing demographics of our community. Dunwoody has grown over the last 46 years and evolved into an “edge city” with a diverse range of residents that will continue to grow in the coming years. The Stage Door BOD recognizes that if we are not ready to adapt to our community, we will be left behind. Stage Door has a responsibility to keep up with the City Master Plan and adapt to grow our customer base. We love our City and we want to offer a wide range of programming with our “Main Stage” productions. We do not plan to do away with the programming that so many of you have enjoyed and we understand your deep connection to the experience of each production.

4. Stage Door must upgrade our technology to meet the needs of our patrons and help streamline our community outreach. Stage Door has been mainly staffed by a patchwork of volunteers and supporters. Business functions have been left to many outside sources. While we greatly appreciate this assistance, growing a theater with outdated systems was not conducive to meeting our goals efficiently. The SDP Board approved funds to update the website so we can offer a better online experience for our patrons with better ticket purchasing options, seating arrangements, and marketing for programs. A new database system was implemented to help track donations, subscribers, and fundraising.

The current Stage Door Board is committed to continuing the great work of the volunteers and board members that served before us. The theater is not one person or one board member or one patron. Stage Door is a special part of the community. It will take the efforts from all of all of us to keep the curtains raised for arts and live performances for Dunwoody. We hope that you will continue to support us in this mission.

We are currently working on cleaning and organizing the theater so it will be safe to use as we work to implement these new initiatives. We are developing several short-term ideas for programming that we would like to go into more detail on in the coming weeks. These include digital programming, comedy, karaoke, and talent show nights run by local professionals, students and community members that can be produced within the current safety guidelines. We are working to partner with local organizations, businesses and schools to make use of the space in order to promote artistic expression in the community. We are working to bring in diverse talent to use the theater during this time to produce new ideas and shows. The board also wants to document the history of our theater and preserve the legacy for many more years.

We appreciate and need your support now more than ever. Please continue to communicate with us through social media or directly at BOD@stagedoorplayers.org. We look forward to seeing all of you at the grand reopening sometime in the future.

- Stage Door Players’ Board of Directors

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