Monday, January 19, 2009


I've found that people generally fall into one of two camps:

1) "Boy, it seems like the lights are always on down there at the Englert. There's always something going on."

- or -

2) "There's never anything going on at the Englert. You guys don't have enough events."

In 2008, we had 190 "event days."

The most obvious event day is a performance, but it can also mean a rehearsal day for a big event like The Nutcracker, or a private reception in the Gallery, or other random things. Some of these events are "Englert Series," meaning we book the performer, promote the show, assume all the risk, etc. The rest - the majority, actually - are community events (theater, etc.), rentals for private events, collaborations with other non-profits, etc.

Here's a look at how our event days have grown over the last three years:

Is this a lot or a little? Well, like most things, it depends on how you look at. We started off 2008 with the following assumptions and goals:

1) There are 365 calendar days in the year, but they're not all "bookable." Take away holidays, maintenance days and home football days (scheduling against the Hawkeyes - even after the game - hasn't worked yet in four years), and that takes it down to around 338.

2) We're Iowa City, not New York City. So out of those 338 available days, we have to account for the fact that we have a relatively small market, there are a lot of other things going on, and people just aren't going to go to the theater 5, 6 or 7 nights a week. We projected that on average, we could have 4 events per week. Some weeks less, some weeks more.

3) That brings us to 188 bookable days. Our actual goal was 160, with 188 being the "max" end of the range.

We did 190. Some of that was due to displaced organizations looking for performance space after the floods. Some of it was due to more Englert Series shows than ever before.

Is that enough events? Too few? What kind of impact did it have on our budget? What about our staff? What about fundraising?

Can we do more? If we just do more events, won't we eliminate the need for fundraising? For investments from sponsors and the City?

So many questions! Answers (or at least our point of view) to come...

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