Conundrum Theatre Company is a registered 501(c)(3) California nonprofit organization. Our mission is to generate opportunities for experienced actors with traditional day jobs to create, produce, and perform in innovative, high-quality theatrical productions in Los Angeles County while building a collaborative, diverse community of writers and actors. In 2022, we kicked off our inaugural season of arts programming, including four musicals, three cabarets, a workshop series, and a summer youth theater camp. In addition, we completed our first mailer campaign this past holiday season.
The 2022-2023 season musicals includes a variety of shows with large and small casts, focused on themes of inclusivity. In September, we had a sold-out run of Cabaret. Cabaret explores the dark and heady life of Bohemian Berlin as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. In December, we produced another sold-out run of RENT. RENT is a rock opera based on the opera La Boheme that highlights the LGBTQIA+ community and the struggles of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We're now in rehearsal for Seussical, our large community show with over 50 people involved as actors, volunteers, musicians, technicians, and designers. Seussical is a fantastical, magical show about beloved Dr. Seuss stories like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton Hears a Who”, in which the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. We're wrapping our season in May with Little Shop of Horrors. Little Shop is a beloved cult-classic musical based on the film of the same name.
Our cabarets are themed and are a way to showcase members of our community and also fundraise with less rehearsal than a full show. Our next cabaret is themed for Black History Month.
Conundrum began a series of workshops in 2023 that will take place quarterly. The first workshop, Audition 101, was a success with twelve children signed up for the youth portion of the workshop and twenty-seven adults signed up for the adult portion. The Audition 101 workshop included singing/vocal coaching, a dance call, and cold reads in an encouraging environment to help develop skills and provide a space where people could ask questions and learn about the audition process from qualified instructors.
Last year's Little Riddles theater camp was a three week camp for kids ages 6-16, where the camp culminated in a final performance of The Little Mermaid Jr. This summer, we plan to produce the popular Matilda Jr. In the camp, children learned how to use their emotions when acting, addressing issues of depression. Anxiety was addressed with tools to deal with nerves when putting on a show. These experiences not only inspired the next generation of artists, but helped bridge the gap from their suffering during the heart of the pandemic to this new normal that we will see in society. By bringing children together, we helped address the community's need for mental health and wellness.
As a small arts nonprofit, we utilize our community of volunteers to help spread the word about our events. We also utilize a variety of print and direct mail. One major way we use print is in our programs for our shows. Programs need to show important information like cast and crew headshots and biographies, donor thank-you's, a list of all the songs and acts in each musical, and Conundrum's mission and how to contact us. Depending on the size of the cast, these can get pretty long and expensive to print. For our last production of RENT, we spent $800 on print programs. Another way we utilize print is for advertising for our shows, workshops, and camps. This includes postcards that we hand out to local businesses and at local events, show posters to display at the venue, and flyers to hang around town. As mentioned, this past winter we completed our first direct mail campaign. We did not have the budget to get our envelopes pre-printed, so we spent many hours addressing and signing letters by hand.
Print and direct mail helps promote our message and get the word out to our community, from audience members to prospective actors, to kids and their parents looking to get involved in our shows, workshops, and summer camps. Another big way we want to expand this year is by sending specific donor appreciation thank you cards, which we have not done in the past generally due to expense. Working with an organization like Conquest can help us do all these things, and maybe even help us splurge on press material such as step and repeats or banners to spread the word about Conundrum and provide a cool photo opportunity for our audience and cast members.
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