The Jim Moran Foundation Awards Local Theatre $30K
Grant will allow Fantasy Theatre Factory to avoid staff cuts and enable it to continue providing programming to young audiences in Broward County
Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Fantasy Theatre Factory (FTF) is honored to announce that The Jim Moran Foundation has provided a $30,000 grant for general operating support to FTF for the 2020-21 season.
These funds are to support FTF organizationally while its innovative programming, Bringing Books to Children, has paused as a result of the pandemic. Through that flagship program supported by The Foundation for the past decade, FTF presents live, theatrical productions at Title I Schools in Broward County, then distributes free program-related books to all children in attendance. The shows and books are free, and for many of the children served, the books are their first personal book to call their own. Last year, FTF distributed more than 4,900 books to underserved children in Broward County. FTF plans to revive this program once conditions improve sufficiently enough to allow for in-person performances at schools again.
"We dont anticipate being able to perform our shows live, in schools, for several more months at least,” said FTF Executive Artistic Director Larry Fields. “Even if schools return to regular classroom instruction over the next few weeks, we don’t anticipate schools allowing outside groups onto their campuses for some time. We therefore weren’t certain if or how we would be able to partner with The Jim Moran Foundation this year."
"We are extremely grateful to The Foundation for its continued support and generosity, even though we won’t be able to carry out this important program the same way this year,” continued Fields. “This funding will have a real and immediate impact on us as an arts organization.”
The grant funds allow FTF to keep a staff position — the company had to cut two members of its 10-member staff earlier in the summer — and it will allow the company to continue to expand and develop its virtual theatrical programming for young audiences, including Title I schools in Broward, said Fields.
Like many industries in Florida, the live-theatre industry has been deeply affected by COVID-19, which, since mid-March, has forced the closure of most public venues. Theatres have had to close their doors to the public, cease their touring shows, furlough or cut their staffs and, in anticipation of opening again eventually, invest in facility improvements that have depleted their capital budgets.
At the same time, added Fields, many theatre companies, including FTF, have switched to virtual programming — transferring their shows to video recordings and streaming them online — which has forced them to reassess their season offerings and to learn about videography and video-editing, the latter of which is extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming.
“The past six months have been challenging for live theatre companies,” said Fields. “Not only have we lost considerable revenue, but we’ve had to venture into whole new areas of expertise and whole new business models for us. Even if we’ve managed to stay afloat financially, what we haven’t spent in our usual production costs we’ve spent in new equipment costs, time, and effort in learning a whole new art form (film).”
FTF sincerely thanks The Jim Moran Foundation for “being there for us in a time of need,” concluded Fields. “We are continually amazed by the legacy of good to come from The Jim Moran Foundation. Although Mr. Moran left us in 2007, he’s still coming to the rescue in 2020 with his amazing Foundation. On behalf of all the children we serve each season, and the staff positions saved as a result of this grant, we say ‘Thank you!’”
About the Jim Moran Foundation
Founded by automotive pioneer Jim Moran, the mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation has invested more than $165 million in education, elder care, family strengthening, and youth transitional living initiatives since its inception in 2000 with efforts currently focused in Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties. Through a long-term Grant Agreement, The Foundation's significant funders are JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC. To learn more, visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org or call (954) 429-2122.
About Fantasy Theatre Factory
Fantasy Theatre Factory has been serving Florida since 1982. In addition to being the managing operator of the brand-new Sandrell Rivers Theatre, FTF also performs in rural and inner-city schools, theatres, parks, hospitals, community centers and more across the entire state of Florida. Fantasy Theatre Factory presents more than 500 Florida programs reaching over 150,000 people each year. Fantasy Theatre Factory’s mission is to make more quality theatre programs available to more people of all cultures and backgrounds. FTF also provides skilled circus performers for all types of events as well as theatre workshops for young audiences, both typical and individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Fantasy Theatre Factory is headed by Executive Artistic Director, Larry Fields, who has served with the company since 2006. FTF was founded by Edward Allen and Mimi Schultz. Fantasy Theatre Factory programs are award-winning— FTF has won the Miami-Dade Arts Educator of the Year Award, the 2013 Excellence in Direct Service to Children Award from the Miami-Dade Children’s Trust, 2018 Remy Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Theatre, 2019 Remy Pioneer Award, December 2019 Hero in the Arts- Key Biscayne Magazine, among many others.
Contact: Rommel Arellan-Marinas, Associate Artistic Director
Phone: 305-284-8800, Ext. 467