First, Shakespeare Dallas canceled its summer season. Then its fall season. Then its winter season.
“It’s all been in phases because I’m an eternal optimist,” says Raphael Parry, executive and artistic director of the nonprofit that performs Shakespeare at Samuell Grand Park. “Next summer launches our 50th season. We have all these ideas, but it depends on COVID.”
Following the cancelation of its in-person programs, Shakespeare Dallas lost all of its earned income and reduced its $1 million budget by 25 percent. The organization released its contractors but managed to keep all seven full-time staff members.
“Instead of programming, I’m spending most of my time fundraising,” Parry says. “We have to monitor expenses so tightly. We’re cutting down on office supplies. Don’t use so many paper clips because it will add up. The last thing I want to do is lay off or furlough any staff.”
Parry worries about what will happen if Congress doesn’t pass another coronavirus relief package. The organization received a Paycheck Protection Program loan that paid staff salaries for two months. Without it, “everybody would be gone,” Parry says.
“There are byproducts of income that we generate that are ignored,” he says. “When you go to a show, you go out to eat at a restaurant beforehand, and then you go to a bar after and have a cocktail while talking about the show. We’re an important part of the economy.”
The outlook may not be much brighter in the upcoming fiscal year. In the face of donor fatigue and an unemployment tax that will most certainly be higher for businesses, Shakespeare Dallas needs continued community support to survive.