In the theater the saying goes that the “show must go on,” but for the kids involved in Turlock Youth Performing Arts there is a potential that the curtain may never rise again.
The non-profit TYPA, which features acting troupes for children in the area and stages a couple of shows each year, is low on funds at a time when their expenses have increased.
“It takes a lot of money to run one of these shows and it’s hitting our pocketbook,” said TYPA Board Member Ann Cordell.
For more than a decade TYPA has been staging musicals that showcase the talents of area youth. Each show is mounted by the efforts of a director, musical director and choreographer — some playing double duty — and a host of volunteers who have helped with everything from set building to costume design. But as TYPA’s original young actors have grown up and aged out of the program, those volunteers who were so integral to the process have disappeared as well.
“As the kids have moved on, so have the parents and that’s left us with some expenses we hadn’t had in the past,” said Amber Traini, TYPA’s executive producer.
As an example, a show done a few years ago would have cost TYPA about $6,000, which includes the rights to the show, theatre rental, and costumes and props. But for the most recent production of “Guys and Dolls” TYPA had to pay an additional $6,000 to have the sets built, and that was at a discounted rate, Traini said.
“It literally doubled our budget,” Traini said. “They did a great job and gave us a great rate, but when you’re not used to paying for something and you suddenly have to find it in your budget, it definitely hurts.”
TYPA is primarily funded through the tuition each child pays and from ticket sales. In the past one show has brought in enough money to fund the next show, but recently the attendance at the shows has dropped and less money is being brought in.
“People aren’t attending the senior shows like they used to,” Traini said. “When the kids are little everyone, all the aunts and uncles, come out to see them in the show. But as the kids get older, they don’t seem to care as much and don’t come out for the show. We’re paying more for shows that are bringing in fewer people.”
General admission tickets are usually priced at $10.
“We want to keep our tickets at the lower cost,” Traini said. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being family-friendly.”
TYPA’s Board will be meeting to discuss some fund raising ideas and are hopeful that businesses and community groups might donate some of the needed funds.
“The kids put a ton of time into these shows and we want it to be as professional as it can be for them,” Cordell said.