client: The 5th Avenue Theatre
project: Institutional Material
The 5th constantly reiterates its institutional messages. Every new season brings a mixture of new subscribers, who want the full message, and returning ones, who don't.
In this article, I chose an informal, conversational style which would sound fresh. I ran related stories to provide greater detail for some items in the same publication.
The 5th Avenue Theatre: Did You Know?
The 5th Avenue Theatre strives to be Seattle's first choice in musical theater entertainment, but our contributions to the community reach far beyond magic on the stage. As 5th Avenue subscribers, you are our biggest supporters and best ambassadors; we want you to know as much about us as possible.
Did you know that We're Non-Profit?
The 5th Avenue Theatre Association is a non-profit company, and always has been. Income from ticket sales and donations is spent on productions, overhead expenses and facility maintenance. There are no "owners;" the theatre is managed by a Board of Directors and The 5th Avenue Theatre Association.
Did you know that We Produce Musicals?
In fact, more than half of 5th Avenue musicals are self-produced. Since the Musical Theatre Company began producing musicals in 1989, it has both presented national tours and produced its own shows, and it is one of the only theatres in the country to do a combination.
"Self-produced" means that we produce the show ourselves: we build it from the ground up and the show exists only for its two- to three-week 5th Avenue run. We hire and collaborate with the creative team (everyone from the director to the assistant designers); hold auditions to cast the show (usually a blend of national and Northwest talent); conduct rehearsals; design and build and/or rent sets and costumes; design lights and sound; research, write and educate the public about the show; and create the marketing materials and signature imagery.
A national tour, on the other hand, is created elsewhere (usually New York) and travels around the country on a tour booked months or years in advance. Our local backstage crew and musicians usually supplement the traveling company, but otherwise the show is self-contained. The recent World Premiere of the musical Hairspray was an interesting hybrid. Hairspray played The 5th Avenue as a pre-Broadway tryout, moving directly from The 5th to Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre. Most of the sets and costumes were built in New York but were assembled here on our stage, and the show was rehearsed both in New York and here in Seattle. As one of the producers of the show, we enjoyed the opportunity to work with a team of top Broadway talent to create a brand-new musical for Broadway!
Did you know that We Employ Local Artists?
The 5th Avenue not only provides entertainment for thousands of theater-goers, but it also employs hundreds of local theater artists: directors, designers, actors, singers, dancers, musicians, stagehands, stage managers, and hair, wig and wardrobe technicians. In fact, The 5th Avenue employed more than 400 theater professionals last season (not counting our administration and front-of-house staff), making us one of the largest employers of theater artists in the Northwest. One of Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong's priorities is to mine the wealth of talent in our region. Each summer, we hold "general" auditions, which lead to "call backs" for specific shows. In our general auditions this July, over 300 singers, dancers and actors tried out for roles in our upcoming season.
Did you know that We Boost Seattle's Economy?
Governor Gary Locke recently applauded The 5th Avenue for bringing Hairspray to Seattle. He wrote, "The staging of this production brought significant economic benefit to the area, with at least $2 million to $3 million spent in direct show production costs and substantial tourism dollars accompanying the performances."
But it's not just exciting World Premieres that boost tourism and strengthen our downtown neighborhood. Since the theatre was renovated in 1980, over 5 million theater-goers have flocked to nearly 3,000 performances, bringing vital business to nearby stores and restaurants. The 5th Avenue's renovation spurred the revitalization of downtown Seattle, helping to make our city the beautiful and vibrant destination it is today.
Did you know that We Do Education and Outreach?
The 5th Avenue is committed to education and outreach. Our Adventure Musical Theatre (AMT) Touring Company introduces young children to musical theater by bringing original musicals to schools; our Student Matinee Program allows Puget Sound-area students, grades four through twelve, to watch a full-length musical at the magnificent 5th Avenue Theatre for a reduced price; and The 5th Avenue Theatre Education Fund helps support theater internship programs within the state of Washington.
Did you know that Our Shows Are Accessible?
Accessibility efforts include wheelchair accessible seating, American Sign Language performances for deaf and hard-of-hearing audience members and audio-described performances for blind and visually-impaired audience members. Also available, free of charge, are Braille playbills and Sennheiser infrared sound amplification headsets.
Did you know that We Donate Tickets To Worth Causes?
We regularly donate tickets to non-profit education, health-care and performing arts organizations for fund-raising auctions; to date, more than 11,000 tickets have been given away to such groups as the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, Aids Alliance, Starlight Foundation, Swedish Hospital Cancer patient program, Salvation Army, Atlantic Street Center, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. We are proud of the contributes we make to the community that supports us with ticket-buying dollars and donations, and we hope our ongoing efforts will preserve the beautiful an unique 5th Avenue Theatre for years to come.
We encourage you to spread the word — if you learned something new about your 5th Avenue Theatre, pass it on!