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Supporter Spotlight: Cameco Capitol Arts Centre

For Cameco Capitol Arts Centre, audience collections in support of The AFC are an integral part of every season.

“It’s part of our routine, it’s part of any production as much as it’s important to do every contract or cross every t or do the costumes,” explains Artistic Director and General Manager Antonio Sarmiento. “The AFC is part of every show that we do.”

Cameco Capitol Arts Centre is one of the many theatres across Canada that hold audience collections —fundraising appeals designed to solicit individual donations from theatregoers — in support of The AFC.

These collections have proven a successful way for the community to raise money for entertainment professionals in need.

“The audience collections have been an absolute pleasure for us,” says Sarmiento. “The audiences are at a time when they have been so entertained and seen these incredible productions that are on the stage and so when we do the (ask), we have a typically very positive response.”

The Capitol has held six collections so far in 2016 and raised $6,000. Sarmiento says they plan to hold at least two more this year.

The theatre typically displays posters and flyers from The AFC in the lobby on a day they are holding a collection so that audiences are made aware of the organization before they even sit down. A brief mention might also be made at intermission during the 50/50 draw, but the big sell comes after the final bow when an actor selected by Sarmiento speaks about The AFC and what the collection is for.

“We find a way for it not to be a break in the entertainment, but for it to be part of the whole experience of someone going to the theatre and remembering that these actors do need the support and have issues of their own, and if they can help, they can, and again audiences respond very well to it,” Sarmiento says.

Sarmiento encourages other theatre companies to hold audience collections in support of The AFC.

“I would say there is absolutely no good reason not do it,” he says. “This is a win-win in every possible way.

“You are giving back to those artists that need the support; you’re asking audiences to do what they can, what they want, what they will; and you are going to be surprised by how many audience members think it’s a wonderful thing to do and are willing to dig into their pockets for this endeavour,” he adds.

“There is absolutely no downside to it.”

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