The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Artist Support and Production Cost

Grant Information
Categories Arts
Location United States
Cycle Year 2021
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Ruskin Group Theatre
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Mike Reilly
Phone 4242095215
3000 Airport Ave.
Santa Monica
Additional Information
Used for Grant funding from the Douglas T. Dougherty Foundation will be used by the Ruskin Group Theatre to both continue support of artist pay, as well as meet rapidly escalating material costs of production. Due to the pandemic, we were completely closed to live performances from March 2020 until July of 2021, yet through that period of closure, we committed to devising events for our audiences, and opportunities for our base of artists to work, by providing virtual performances. Going forward, we face the reality of much more expensive materials and labor costs.
Benefits It is well known that the cost of living in Southern California has grown more challenging for most people, and theater artists are no exception to this. Though we are incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing established artists, the vast majority of those whom we cast and employ are incredibly talented and hard working local artists developing in their careers. Any possible grant funds will benefit our entire community by enabling us to both continue to pay our artists a fair wage and provide our audiences with high quality productions.
Proposal Description 2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for everyone. In normal times, the average life-span of a small live-performance theater in America is less then ten years. The Ruskin Group Theatre was founded in late 2002 and has survived both the market crash of 2008 and now the pandemic of 2020-21. It has not been easy, but thanks to the support of amazing foundations like the Douglas T. Dougherty, we have not only survived, but have grown wiser and more nimble. Over the years, our audiences have enjoyed intimate and moving theatrical experiences not available anywhere else.
In the past year, supply chain issues and other factors have made material costs, such as lumber and hardware, exponentially more expensive. We estimate that building costs of a standard set have increased by over 50%. Additionally, over the past 2-3 years, labor costs have increased by +20%. Since the spring of 2021, different regions and communities have re-opened to varying degrees. Los Angeles county has, for the most part, taken a much slower approach to re-opening. Nevertheless, in July, 2021, we began live performances of our long running monthly offerings, LA Cafe Plays and Library Girl. As well, we have been negotiating with Actors Equity to formulate safe protocols for rehearsal and production in our intimate, 55 seat venue. As a result, we have begun production on our long anticipated west coast premiere of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”, opening February 2022. Given that we will continue on a path to fully re-opening, we expect to produce at least three full-length plays in 2022. What in 2019 would cost approximately $40,000 to produce will now cost $60,000+. It is our plan to continue to offer our audiences the same quality productions to which both we and they have become accustomed.