Six-figure donation saves Perseverance Theatre

$650,000 means the show can go on at Alaska’s largest professional playhouse

  • By Kevin Gullufsen Juneau Empire
  • Friday, June 29, 2018 9:39pm
  • NewsLocal News
Juneau Empire file.

Juneau Empire file.

An “outpouring of support” — including $650,000 from donors — will help Perseverance Theatre pull out of a cash crisis that left employees furloughed earlier this month.

In a email statement sent to media and donors Friday, Board President Joe Bedard, Board Vice President James Bibb and Artistic Director Art Rotch announced that several donors put together a package of philanthropic support totaling $650,000. The theater is also hoping to raise an additional $100,000 from the Juneau community at large, which they hope to raise by Sept. 30, according to the release.

The donations are part of what the theater is calling a “path forward” to forge past six-figure cash shortfalls in recent years, which forced the theater to consider shutting down. Organizational changes, an increase in ticket prices and the postponing of the start of its next production season are also part of that path.

The theater leaders called the money “an extraordinary investment in our work and validation of our mission.”

“It’s a warm reminder of how our Alaskan theatre company is meaningful to so many people in so many ways and places,” the statement reads.

Perseverance is in the process of recruiting a managing director to oversee the finances. Rotch, who was previously the theater’s executive director, will continue as the artistic director but “will no longer be dividing time between productions and operations,” according to the statement. Julie York Coppens will join Perseverance as director of outreach and engagement.

The start of the 2018 production season will be pushed back to Oct. 5 and the planned staging of the play “Teenage Dick” has been moved from this year to the 2019-2020 season. Perseverance made the schedule change to give it more time for fundraising.

The statement didn’t specify how much ticket prices will rise, but it did say the theater will continue to offer affordable options for ticket prices.

Robert Ziff, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and John Rubini, as well as two anonymous donors put together the $650,000 donation.

Anyone who would like to donate to the $100,000 community fundraising challenge can do so at

Theatre employees referred the Empire to Rotch or York Coppens for further questions. Messages left to Rotch’s phone and with theater employees weren’t immediately returned Friday, and York Coppens wasn’t available.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.