March 18-20, 2016

Galt House Hotel
140 North 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202



Louisville, KY


Actors Theatre of Louisville


Galt House Hotel

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At each CAVORT Conference, member theatres are invited to summit a “Bright Idea”, which might help other theatres.

Lively Discussion


Name: “Doggie Palooza ” A Play-Themed Fund Raiser
Theatre: Seattle Repertory Theatre

In a town boasting "more dogs than kids" Seattle Repertory Organization held a fundraiser featuring all things Dog. This event was held in conjunction with the play Sylvia on the Main Stage. The play is about a couple, who while facing the changes that midlife brings, adopt a stray dog, Sylvia, played by an extremely talented actress.

Doggie PaloozaDoggie Palooza consisted of a pre-show evening party held in SRT’s small Benjamin Moore Spirits Lounge. Refreshments included fabulous catered appetizers (with dog bone shaped shortbread cookies) and red and white wines as well as sparkling water. The price of admission was $60, including a ticket for that night’s performance. Thanks to underwritten food and wine, the event netted about $1,200. We employed two of the Rep’s interns to pour the wines, and that expense was also underwritten.

Very little volunteer time was required (for filling bags and planning) and no theatre staff time.

To create the dog-themed event, we decorated the lounge with a grand banner for the “Doggie Palooza Wine Bar,” took advantage of larger than life dog portraits the theatre had in place, featured “doggie” wine labels from Washington and Oregon vintners. Cellophane bags filled with chocolate covered pretzels were used as table decorations and were the take home treat enjoyed by everyone. (After all, don't all dog owners carry a small plastic bag?)

In jest we encouraged people to submit their names for a drawing for a dog. In reality, the door prizes were a dog label wine of the winner’s choice, theatre tickets for two, a Sylvia T shirt, and a Sylvia tote bag. The event was sold out with 40 attendees. We netted a nice sum, but we are most proud of the fact that we brought people into the Theatre who are not season subscribers. In these economic times, filling seats is a priority. The gathering was very festive and was followed by a play filled with laughter. It seemed to be a very natural thing, to theme a party to a play. We do recommend it!

Name: Garden Apartments Renovation Project
Theatre: Repertory Theatre of St. Louis


The Rep owns an apartment building, the Garden Apartments, within walking distance of the theatre, where actors, directors and designers live during rehearsals and the run of the play. The building was old and drab with a real need for updating. Actors sometimes referred to it as The Bates Motel.

The Rep’s volunteer group, Backers Volunteer Board (BVB) has held small fundraisers for the past few years to provide funds to help spruce up the apartments. The BVB worked closely with the Company Manager to make a small difference in the appearance of the apartments.

Bright Idea Description

A local magazine, At Home St. Louis, sponsors a community project each year. The magazine puts together a team of designers, contractors and donors to make a difference in the physical structures of local non-profit organizations. The BVB met with the magazine’s editor to present the needs of the Garden Apartments as a possible project. A plan to renovate five of the units was accepted as the magazine’s 2010 project.

Since the apartments are used almost year round, the only time to do renovations is in July. The magazine put together five teams to plan and design five units. Although months went into planning, the actual work had to be done in the one-month period. Donations came from vendors, corporations, and individuals. The BVB gave $5,000 to help the project. The entire project was directed by the theatre Company Manager and the Editor of the magazine.


The public was invited to view the apartments for a fee of $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Around 200 attended. This small fundraiser helped to raise additional funds for the project.

At Home St. Louis featured a six page article, with photos, about the project in their 2010 November/December issue. With rave reviews from the theatre, visiting casts, and the public, the magazine offered to extend the project to 2011 and complete the renovations of the fourteen remaining apartments. Landscaping, and an updating of the laundry room would also be done. The BVB donated $1,500 raised from small fundraisers, along with seed money provided by the theatre. Fourteen teams of designers and contractors were put together by the magazine, and donors were found to help with appliances, flooring, paint, furniture, etc.

At Home St. Louis, once again did a spread about the renovations in their 2011 November/December issue.


The improvement in the apartments is amazing. We are sure the word has spread throughout the theatre world that The Rep is a more desirable place to work. In addition, the theatre received positive public exposure through coverage in the magazine, the tours of the apartments, and all the professionals who actually did the work.

Everyone associated with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis feels pride in the updated and beautifully decorated Garden Apartments. We love to hear the reactions of the visiting cast when they see their “home away from home” for the first time.

Name:   Meadow Brook Theatre Cabaret
Theatre:  Meadow Brook Theatre

Description:  Your basic variety show with volunteer performers, hosted by Artistic Director Travis Walter.  Billy Konsoer, a performer in BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, the spring musical two years ago, suggested a cabaret as a fund-raiser.  The performers were the cast and crew.  Last year, the cabaret featured performers who worked at Meadow Brook Theatre, past and present.

After the show, the performers mingle with the audience in the theatre and the lobby carrying hats from the costume shop to accept donations.

Keys to Success:  The cabaret is scheduled on the third Saturday of the run of the spring musical.  That performance begins at 6:00 so the cabaret begins around 8:30 or so.  The audience is, of course, invited to stay.

To publicize the show, Travis Walter mentions the cabaret show in his curtain speech before performances for several weeks before the date.  It is posted on the Meadow Brook Theatre website and Facebook page.  The performers also tell their friends.

Estimated Hours:  Travis Walter usually spends 5-7 hours coordinating the talent, posting the information and making sure the accompanist has all the music.  There’s a rehearsal on Friday afternoon before the performance; and, of course, the performance.  The performers, lighting designer, sound designer, stage manager, accompanist and staff all volunteer the 6-8 hours it takes to create and perform this show.

Estimated Cost:  Minimal.

Results:  We raised $1000 the first year and $1200 the second.  We should do even better this year because now Meadow Brook Theatre audiences expect the cabaret show.