A CONTEMPORARY THEATRE INC

Where artistic ambition and civic engagement unite

aka ACT THEATRE   |   SEATTLE, WA   |  http://www.acttheatre.org/

Mission

ACT is a contemporary theatre where artistic ambition and civic engagement unite. ACT envisions a world where the power of theatre expands our collective understanding of community and our own humanity. Founded in 1965, ACT was Seattle's first theatre dedicated to producing contemporary plays - and in this commitment, ACT made a unique and essential contribution to Seattle's theatre scene. ACT is dedicated to the creation of New Works and the development of new art. ACT supports these endeavors, critical to our mission, through commissions for new plays, the production of 49 World Premieres in our history, and supporting young art organizations through professional partnerships in our ACTLab. Additionally, our Young Playwrights Program (YPP) provides arts education for young artists.

Notes from the nonprofit

We will be releasing our new Strategic Plan this spring. It will set the path for the next three to five years for ACT.

Ruling year info

1965

Managing Director

Becky Witmer

Main address

700 UNION STREET

SEATTLE, WA 98101-4037 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

91-0787792

NTEE code info

Performing Arts (A60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The problems/needs ACT is currently facing are: ACT eliminated their debt at the end of 2018, starting 2019 on strong financial ground. The challenges we face include continued financial stability, increasing our reserves and a growing decrease in subscription ticket sales. Another of our greatest challenges is cultural diversity. We are working hard to improve our goals and take action on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in all areas of our organization. We are addressing these issues with our new strategic plan to be released this spring.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mainstage Productions

The cornerstone of ACT's mission, Mainstage plays are the world-class productions that the community has come to expect each year since ACT was founded in 1965. Fully produced, and featuring amazing design value, directing, and acting from local and national artists, Mainstage plays are most often staged in our larger theaters, the Allen and Falls. ACT's Mainstage productions include both world premieres and the new generations of contemporary classics.

Population(s) Served

The program formerly known as the Central Heating Lab is now simply known as ACTLab. In support of ground-breaking theatre, ACTLab is investing in the imagination of audiences and artists, cultivating new ideas through experimentation, excellent art, and meaningful partnerships with the most innovative local artists, and you, our beloved audience.

Population(s) Served

The Young Playwrights Program (YPP), ACT's flagship education program, sends professional playwright teaching artists into area schools for 10 weeks to teach the basics of playwriting to Puget Sound-area students. ACT's YPP equips participants with tools for creative self-expression, endowing them with self-confidence and the sense that their ideas—about themselves, their world, and the challenges they face—matter, and their voices will be heard.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ACT is unique in that we have five distinct performance and event spaces. We produce our own curated and produced Mainstage Season; present a second season of co-productions and presenting works through our ACTLab series; develop and workshop new plays; produce unknown new works; mount our annual production of A Christmas Carol; have a cabaret venue; serve youth; serve artists; and we manage at least eight different artistic programs over the course of a year in our historic landmark building. In all of the great work we are doing, we look to define ourselves and what makes ACT stand out so that our patrons can identify us in the marketplace and so that we can differentiate our company from other theatres in the area. This will help to differentiate and clarify our work in the marketplace, and help with internal bandwidth and shared vision on our staff.

ACT is committed to the programs that are essential to our mission and our success. Our goal is to develop a branding campaign to communicate our offerings and to update and renovate our facility so that it aligns with our mission and vision, as well as attracts audiences who are seeking a place to gather and connect.

Our Strategic Plan will introduce a new, updated mission for the theatre that will include Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Fiscal Responsibility and incorporate our stewardship of the Eagles Auditorium building.

Our strategies include increasing our staff and capacity building. Based on recent data analysis from the Theatre Communications Group Theatre Facts, we have noted that ACT was meeting benchmarks in subscriptions but is losing ground here, so we must innovate new ideas; we are under performing in single tickets by approximately 10,000 units per year and continue to look for ways to attract new audiences. In contributed revenue, we are underperforming by 10% in the ration of earned vs contributed revenue as compared to our peers. The percent of subscribers who donate is 7% below the benchmark. Of note, we are also underinvesting in the areas of marketing and development as compared to peer benchmarks. ACT is spending 40% less on marketing and 50% less on fundraising than the average. These numbers and their outcomes are directly related. Our goal is to increase our investment in human resources and communication tools so that we can meet or exceed the industry benchmarks. We are making strides in these areas but there is still work to be done. We expect/anticipate that the work we have done to develop our new Strategic Plan will pave the way to many of the actions we need to take to accomplish our goals.

ACT embarked upon a serious campaign to gain financial stability in 2015. Financial guidelines were set into place and a plan to retire the theatre's debt was started. In 2018 we received two generous bequests that allowed us to complete our goals earlier than anticipated by retiring all of our debt at the end of December 2018. We see the success of the hard work, the faith our supporters have in us and will move forward to continue on this path of fiscal responsibility and strength. The new Strategic Plan includes a foundational goal that states: "Financial Sustainability informs all decision-making".

ACT is debt free. We are making intentional choices about diversity in our leadership, staff, patrons and artists and are seeing improvements in this area. ACT embarks upon a new Engagement Ambassador Program in 2019, inviting members of diverse communities to actively participate in ACT's artistic offerings, including the Mainstage and ACTLab. We are intentionally recruiting Teaching Artists of color for our 2019 fall Young Playwrights Program, and leaders of color for our Board of Directors.

Financials

A CONTEMPORARY THEATRE INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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A CONTEMPORARY THEATRE INC

Board of directors
as of 11/25/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gary Houlahan

Mutual Materials

Term: 2014 -

Matt Aalfs

Weinstein Architects and Urban Designers

Joan Barokas

Community Volunteer

Eric Bennett

Amazon

Laurie Besteman

Wachovia

Trevor Cobb

Goldman Sachs

Michael Crystal

Michael Crystal Consulting

Bob Dowdy

Weyerhauser Executive (retired)

Rayner D'Souza

Microsoft

Charles Fitzgerald Jr.

Community Volunteer

Ross Henry

Laird Norton Wealth Management

Michael Herschensohn

Executive Director at Folklife (retired)

Stephanie Hilbert

Community Volunteer

Grady Hughes

Opthamologist at Seattle Eye Care

Abha Khanna

Perkins Coie LLP

Bill Kuhn

NWX Consulting Inc.

Diane Lind

Lake Serene Clinic

Lauren Mikov

King County Library System

Naomi Minegishi

Community Volunteer

Jim Minorchio

Riddell Williams

John Muhic

Boeing

Tim Mulligan

Vulcan

Erika Nesholm

Nesholm Family Foundation

Judy Ness

Independent Marketing Consultant

George Ojemann

UW Medical Center (Neurosurgeon)

Deborah Person

Former Executive Director at SIFF

Leslie Bernstein

Community Volunteer

Teresa Revelle

Licensed Social Worker with the State of WA

Margaret Rothchild

Community Volunteer

Carlo Scandiuzzi

Scandiuzzi Krebs

Karen Shaw

Psychologist

Goldie Silverman

Author

Chuck Sitkin

Retired Management Consultant

Rob Stewart

Greacen Construction Inc.

Larry True

University of WA

Ryan Waite

Microsoft

Shanna Waite

The Studios

Kyoko Wright

Caldwell Banker

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes