The Cayman Drama Society has become a victim of spiralling living costs and now faces an annual bill of almost triple its usual operating costs.
The yearly insurance for the CDS’s Playhouse Theatre in Red Bay has rocketed from $6,000 to a whopping $24,000 as of October last year. Other significant increases over the past couple of years which have pushed up their costs include electricity, maintenance, and materials for sets and costumes. Such increases have led to annual costs rising from $20,000 to $60,000.
‘Historically we have not had difficulties in meeting the running costs of the society,’ Alan Hall, chairman of the CDS said.
‘Each year we have managed to break even and often have a small profit, which we have ploughed back into the society, without raising ticket or membership costs.
‘This year we are going to have to be more aggressive and look for alternative means to raise the necessary funds,’ he said.
‘It was a bit of a shock when the new insurance cost came through, but we were half expecting it. It’s just what everyone else is experiencing in Cayman. The cost of living has just soared. Previously we were able to ride these costs, but it has now reached a stage that we are not able to do so,’ he commented.
Prior to Hurricane Ivan, which tore through Cayman in 2004, yearly running costs for the theatre were manageable.
The Playhouse was constructed in 1990 for under $200,000. Due to extensive building and refurbishment in 2005 to correct storm damage, the theatre is now valued at close to $1 million.
‘The theatre was re-built better and larger and now has state-of-the-art rigging and lighting equipment,’ Mr. Hall said. ‘Value in properties has also gone up as well as construction prices, which have all contributed to push the insurance costs up.’
At the CDS’s annual general meeting, last Monday, members were canvassed on how the society could raise the necessary funds.
Although it is inevitable that ticket prices and membership fees will increase, Mr. Hall said, they will have to exercise some ‘creative thinking’ to raise the necessary funds for 2007.
‘We are looking at various means of ensuring the CDS can be financially viable in the future,’ he said, adding that they are keen to keep membership fees and ticket prices as low as possible.
Areas the society is looking into is how to attract more patrons and sponsors, making the Playhouse available to other organisations and holding more fundraising club nights. Others options include a modest increase in bar prices and charging for programmes.
The Playhouse has made a small profit on each production in 2006, and hopes to stage six plays in the upcoming year, instead the usual five to raise additional funds.
‘2007 is going to be a great challenge, but we are determined to succeed, it is just a matter of how,’ Mr. Hall said. ‘We have so many dedicated members we will do it somehow.’
Visit www.caymandrama.org.ky for further details on the society and planned productions.