While the COVID 19 virus continues to wreck havoc, one more kind of damage it will have is on the ARHS musical. Each year, for well over two decades, ARHS students have come by the droves to give their winters over to creating a massive technical and artistic project together. Our pride in the quality of our productions, our not-always-traditional approach to our work, the deep investment in student leadership, the spirit of finding room for every last student who shows up, and the massive community it creates each year is unparalleled by any other ARHS student endeavor. This year, nearly 15% of the student population is involved in the show.
Spring Awakening was produced with deep intention and the belief that theater can be more than entertainment. Our students, who have spoken so eloquently throughout this process about the value of normalizing dialogue around questions of sex, teen mental health, abuse, and a host of other challenging topics. They believe that this show, which asks what happens when the adult community fails to support and believe in its own children as they turn into adults themselves, has a message for both their peers and the adult figures in their lives. And they do it with skill, depth, and the kind of intensity that is not as readily available to us that have turned into adults.
The ARHS musical has never charged participation fees, and promises all students full participation free of concern for the cost of costumes and the like. We promise a winter full of a massive build and production process that allows students to shine in a host of areas on stage and off. When I see alumni of the musical, regardless of how long ago, we find ourselves recounting their shows with a happy nostalgia and remembering how deep those feelings ran.
With the cancellation of Spring Awakening due to the COVID 19 virus, the ARHS musical is suddenly thrown into jeopardy, with its financial future up in the air. This is where we could use your help. Between production materials, rentals, royalties, supplies, and staff stipends, the musical costs roughly $20,000 each year to mount. Ticket sales and program donations typically have us breaking even. But this year, we have bills awaiting payment with no revenue from a show to cover them.
If you believe in the unique power of projects like the ARHS musical to give our students a lasting gift, long-standing friends, and a touchstone for how passionate work in a large community can inspire them to find parts of themselves they didn’t know they had, then we could use your help. A donation at the level of our General Admission tickets – $20 – will help us recover the losses incurred from this winter. If a large enough community of donors supports us, we can begin to envision the possibility of an ARHS musical in the spring of 2021.
Make a Donation
To donate online, please visit: https://arpsfpa.org/sos
Make checks payable to “ARPS FPA” and mail to:
ARPS Friends of the Performing Arts
21 Mattoon Street
Amherst, MA 01002
We thank you for your support and generosity – and hope we can show you the good that comes from it soon.
Chair, ARHS Performing Arts Department
ARHS Theater Company Director