Public Theater San Antonio Suspends 2023 Production, Needs $500,000 to Stay Open; Launches Funding Campaign

From The Public Theater, August 17, 2023:

(appeal letter follows, below)

(Click here for Deborah Martin's article in the San Antonio Express-News, August 16, 2023)


The Public Theater of San Antonio Launches Fundraising Campaign


(SAN ANTONIO, TX) —  The Public Theater of San Antonio announces the launch of Save the Playhouse, a fundraiser with a campaign goal of $500,000 to secure and sustain the organization by the start of 2024. Like other theaters nationwide, The Public Theater has been navigating financial instability since reopening from COVID-19 pandemic closures. This hardship and fundraising shortcomings from the 2022–23 Season have left the theater with a financial void of crucial funding necessary for the theater to succeed. To prevent closure and layoffs, The Public Theater residing in the San Pedro Playhouse has several efforts set in motion to save the theater. To most theatergoers in San Antonio, the organization is affectionately known as "The Playhouse." 


"This beloved theatre organization has endured and survived for over a century in San Antonio, including multiple leadership transitions from the past ten years," says Director of Marketing and Audience Experience Rick Sanchez. "The Playhouse has been the home to many artists throughout its legacy. A treasured theater for the San Antonio theatre community and beyond. This campaign is an important call to action for the community and San Antonio to show their love and dedication for the theater, to come together and save it for future generations of storytellers and theatergoers."


As well as the Save the Playhouse fundraising campaign, new leadership is working on renewing and rebuilding relationships with foundations to lock in large gifts to help secure and sustain the theater's future. "The Playhouse is a treasure to San Antonio, and the Board has full faith that the new team will cultivate new and past supporters to supply the much-needed funds so we can produce top-class art for all audiences," says Board Chair Dawn Cole. "The theater has faced an uphill battle in these post-pandemic years. We are doing everything we can to save the theater. We hope the theater's long history of theatre-making will draw on the many generations affected by the organization's theatre magic. Now is the time for all to answer the call to support the theater during this time of need."


Measures to secure financial stability from this past season have already begun:

  • The theater will pause productions until the start of the new year to allow the staff to recover and focus on rebuilding and reorganizing the organization.

  • A gala and celebration concert will be held in the fall of 2023 to secure significant funds.

  • New pledges to the top donor level, the Ovation Society, have been secured, including a $40,000 gift from Board Members.

  • New strategic planning includes developing a business plan and diversifying the revenue streams by launching a new education program for all ages.


"The next few months of this campaign are crucial. We are calling on ALL supporters, big and small, from the past, present, and future, to dig deep and give as much as they can to the theater and secure its longevity for the future." says incoming President and CEO Asia Ciaravino. 

To give a gift and Save the Playhouse, visit


About The Public Theater of San Antonio

The Public Theater of San Antonio creates dynamic professional theatre and arts programming that unites the diverse communities of San Antonio and enriches the quality of life in our city through transformative storytelling that reflects the human experience. As San Antonio's regional professional theater, many volunteers and service contractors contribute to the organization's success. An average of two hundred professionally paid performers and technicians annually participate in productions. Nearly 90% of the performers and creative team members are from the local region under new leadership. Established in 1912 as the San Antonio Dramatic Club and incorporated on April 6, 1927, as the San Antonio Little Theatre, it is the longest-running theater in South Texas. The company has had other brands, such as The San Pedro Playhouse (1997) and The Playhouse San Antonio (2012). Its most recent brand, The Public Theater of San Antonio, was unveiled on January 7, 2018, to align the organization's new professional vision to the region's needs. The Public Theater has evolved to serve its community as a 501c3 non-profit organization for over a century. Visit for more information.

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Fundraising Appeal Letter


We need your help.

The San Pedro Playhouse has survived and thrived for over 100 years. It has weathered two World Wars, the Great Depression, and a pandemic. It now finds itself in a theatre crisis affecting many stages nationwide.

The Public Theater of San Antonio, affectionately called "The Playhouse" by many in our community, is not just a stand-alone building and a historical monument. It is a living home, YOUR home, where artists and creators unite to explore and express shared human experiences with the audience and the supporters that keep theatre thriving in San Antonio.

This past season, artists working on our stages represented our city more than ever, a home for the arts celebrating the vast cultural riches of San Antonio. And yet, our theater has faced unprecedented financial challenges and hardships from this past season. Over the last year, the Playhouse has seen a significant drop in financial support through fundraising, a lack of resources to produce high-quality productions, and a slow rebuild of audiences returning from the pandemic. Now is a critical time for immediate fundraising efforts as our nation fights through the economic crisis and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have left the theater in its history’s most vulnerable financial place.

The Playhouse is not alone in this struggle. Stages across the country are seeing the same challenges with audiences returning to the theater. The national trend is a return of only 70% of audiences from pre-pandemic years. The cost of producing shows has gone up. Revenue from ticket sales only covers a fraction of production costs. Typically, a strong fundraising effort throughout a season offsets financial strain on a theater, alleviating any increases in ticket prices that can impact the accessibility of theatre to the community. This 2022–23 Season has fallen short of fundraising goals. Without those supplementary dollars, we CANNOT do this work.

To sustain for the coming year, the Playhouse will have a short pause in programming, beginning with our production for Twelfth Night, to rebuild and repair. In the near term, we look forward to hosting a gala and celebration concert at the Playhouse to secure additional funding for 2024 titles. Current subscribers can attend the gala or celebration concerts and get credits on their account for extra tickets in 2024. Subscribers and flex pass holders will receive more information in the coming weeks. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this critical time for our organization.

We see a path forward for sustainability and success, but it is a path we cannot walk alone. By the end of 2023, we must raise $500,000 to Save The Playhouse. The number looms large, but we also know the generous hearts of our supporters and are confident we can save the Playhouse together. There are multiple ways you can contribute starting now.

DONATE — set up a recurring gift monthly or even yearly. If you can commit to a more considerable donation, become an OVATION MEMBER. See a show and enjoy a drink at the bar. BUY TICKETS for the last production of this season, Merrily We Roll Along. Secure seats for the next season; SUBSCRIBE to the 2023–24 Season. Become a SPONSOR for the 2023–24 Season. Please SHARE where you can and advocate for The Playhouse and our artists in the community.

With your help, the visions and dreams of this theater must continue for another 100 years — and they must. With all our hearts, we believe the best stories to tell on our stage are yet to be told and will represent the rich diversity of San Antonio and all its people. The Playhouse is an artistic home that our community has built together —  and it will be you who guarantees that its legacy continues.

We can only do it with you. The Playhouse needs your support now more than ever to ensure we reach this critical fundraising goal. We look forward to welcoming you, your children, and generations of families to come home to The Playhouse.

With sincere gratitude,

The Public Theater of San Antonio


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(via The Public Theatre)