Looking back at 2012 and ahead to 2013
As we prepare to close the books on 2012, I am thrilled to report that we have had yet another
extraordinary year here at Steep Theatre. Our triumphs took place on stage and behind the scenes
– we had artistic successes, broke audience records, and undertook a major effort within our
community to look ahead and consider the next chapter in Steep's story.
As a patron of Steep, you have been instrumental in making 2012 one of our most successful and
memorable years. We hope that we can count on your support this year, as we look forward to
2013. Exciting days are ahead.
Here are just some of Steep's stand-out achievements from 2012:
- A Steep first: A transfer! Each of our Season Eleven productions was a great success – lauded by critics, embraced by audiences, and recommended by the Jeff committee. But one show merits special mention: our U.S. premiere of Moment. After earning a four-star review from the Chicago Tribune and similar praise from critics across the board, Moment sold out in short order. So we extended it...twice. And sold out both extensions. As we prepared to mount our next show, ticket demand for Moment was still strong, so we decided to transfer Moment to a bigger theater so that both shows could go on. Moving Moment was a huge success and a valuable experience that will inform how we handle future hit shows.
As we look to the future, we are considering ways to reconfigure our current home so we
can increase the seating capacity for our hot shows while maintaining the intimacy and the
warm, friendly feeling of attending a play at Steep.
- Another Steep first: Visits from two U.K. playwrights. We partnered with Columbia
College Chicago to bring Simon Stephens, the Olivier Award-winning playwright of
Steep hits Harper Reagan and Pornography, to Chicago for an inspiring week of readings,
performances, and a dialogue with Tribune critic Chris Jones. Moment playwright Deirdre
Kinahan also caught a trans-Atlantic flight to visit Steep, where she attended a performance
of Moment and participated in a memorable post-show discussion with our artists and an
engaged, enthusiastic audience.
As we look to the future, we hope to bring more of the world's best playwrights to Steep
to learn more about their craft and to introduce them to the work taking place at Steep and
throughout the Chicago theater community.
- Steep audience and subscriber records broken. Our Season Eleven programming set
new attendance records, and in our third year of offering season tickets, we added hundreds
of new subscribers.
As we look to the future, we are exploring ways to expand our reach and bring new
audience members and stakeholders into the Steep fold.
- Our first two paid administrative positions. Since our founding, all of our core staff
have worked on a volunteer basis. This year we hired a professional bookkeeper who greatly
increased the sophistication of our recordkeeping, allowing us to analyze our budget with
greater clarity. We also created a paid position for a house manager for each production, which
improved the quality of the theater experience for our patrons.
As we look to the future, we are working to compensate our executive staff, increase artists'
fees, and add additional administrative positions. This will not only draw more talented artists
and professionals to our theater, it will allow us to improve the services we offer our audiences
and supporters. We also are taking a hard look at the possibility of bringing Equity actors to
Steep while remaining, for now, a non-Equity theater.
We've made great strides this year, and Steep's profile has continued to rise in the Chicago theater
community and beyond. While we are proud of what we have accomplished, we want to keep moving
forward – and as you can see above, we have some high ambitions for ourselves. In order to fulfill
these ambitions, we need your support.
We run a fiscally sound and frugal theater. Unlike a lot of non-profit theaters, Steep has always relied
primarily on ticket sales to fund our productions. But in order for us to take the next step in our
growth, we must expand our fundraising efforts.
Please consider making a gift to Steep this year. I hope you will agree that it is an excellent
investment in the future of a theater that has established itself as a leader in the Chicago theater
world and is poised to become a voice recognized far beyond our community.
We would welcome your thoughts on our goals and how we can accomplish them. If you would like
to talk with me about how you might help Steep evolve, please send me an email and I'll be sure to respond.
Thank you again for helping us make this a memorable year, and we look forward to seeing you at
Steep Theatre Company
Steep is a 501(c)(3) organization and all
donations are tax-deductible.