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Live Theatre Workshop

Tucson Theatre Program Adapts Business for COVID-19 with CDFI Support

Financial and Social Impact

  • Live Theatre Workshop serves nearly 20,000 people annually through their performing arts programs and year-round education classes and camps for youth  

Client: Live Theatre Workshop
Client location: Tucson, AZ
CDFI: Growth Partners Arizona
CDFI service area: Arizona
CDFI services provided: Financing and technical assistance

After renting space for 20 years, Live Theatre Workshop wanted a centrally located theatre campus for their performances, camps, classes, and other special events—a long-term, permanent home with all their programs under one roof, plus room to grow. However, traditional banks would not lend to them to operate in their current facility while renovating the new campus despite projected pledges and donations from their three-year capital campaign that was underway. Unable to access mainstream financing, Live Theatre Workshop turned to Growth Partners Arizona (GPAz) after learning about the CDFI from fellow nonprofits in the state.

Although a GPAz cash flow loan helped Live Theatre Workshop renovate their new space, the COVID-19 crisis disrupted the organization’s business significantly. Performances were postponed and the theatre education program went online. However, GPAz worked with the theatre to adjust the structure of their loan and to figure out how to adapt the business for COVID-19. Now online performances and parking lot shows for fall 2020 are in the works and an abbreviated 2021 season and comprehensive safety plan has been developed should conditions allow in-person shows.

“The COVID-19 crisis disrupted our business in ways we could never have imagined. Being able to talk to Growth Partners as we develop multiple budget scenarios and adjust the structure of our loan has been invaluable. The collaboration has given us the opportunity to be nimble and adjust to this crisis in a way that we never would have been able to do without this funding and their excellent advice,” said Michael Martinez, Executive Director, Live Theatre Workshop.

Photo by Ryan Fagan

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