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Facing an uncertain future, Cultural Park Theater is going virtual to raise funds

By Staff | Jun 4, 2020

Despite not being able to perform for an in-person audience, members of Cape Coral’s preeminent community theater are taking their talents to a virtual platform in hopes to fundraiser amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cultural Park Theater on Saturday will live stream “Heart for the Arts Virtual Fundraising Gala” at 7 p.m. on their Facebook page, where members and supporters of the theater will entertain and perform for the community. These performances will be live over Zoom and some have even made prerecorded videos.

There will also be interviews throughout the event with members of the theater, highlighting their importance in the community and some of the financial hardships caused by coronavirus.

The Gunterberg Charitable Foundation has pledged to match every dollar raised up to $25,000.

“This gala is to help us pull through the financial struggles we’re having,” said Michael Moran, executive director of Cultural Park Theater.

Part of the gala fundraising efforts includes an online auction where local art, gift baskets, collectables and more will be available for bidding. More than 70 items will be available. The bidding started at midnight on June 4 and ends at 7:30 p.m. the night of the gala.

Moran said some unique pieces of art will be available thanks to their artistic friends next door.

“A lot of our artists contacted us and were willing to donate art work for us to auction off,” Moran said.

While the pandemic has given a blow to the theater’s wallet and left performers without an audience, Moran is prideful of the way Cultural Park thespians have stepped up to the plate to put on this gala event.

“It’s wonderful that everyone is pitching in — and trust me, I didn’t have to beg,” Moran said. “Everybody wants to do everything they can do to help. It makes me feel incredible. It’d be hard for me to put into words how moved I am by all of the support.”

Last week, the Cape Coral Breeze highlighted the financial paralysis COVID-19 has imposed on the theater and so many other local businesses and organizations.

The theater’s 57th Broadway season was interrupted and cut short, essentially putting a freeze on any money coming in.

No shows, no tickets sold, no revenue.

Moran said he hopes the theater will be able to make it to see a 58th season, but the current state of affairs may draw the final curtain.

They have lost tens of thousands of dollars in immediate losses and their second highest form of revenue, summer camps, have also been impacted by the pandemic. When the theater is actually able to put on productions once again, it will have to be in front of a limited audience, another blow to the theater’s purse.

Instead of 160 people in attendance for a show, the theater will only be able to seat 70 with social distancing.

“The numbers keep mounting and mounting,” Moran said. “It’s like half of our money is gone. You can imagine we’re in trouble but we’re hoping for the best and trying to move forward.

“We’re hoping we’re going to raise some money to get us through it.”

Though the state is beginning to reopen amidst the pandemic, many families and individuals are still staying home. Moran hopes the community will tune in and be entertained by all of the talented performers and acts they have planned for the event Saturday.

“It’s family entertainment,” Moran said. “There’s going to be comedic songs and there’s going to be kids performing in the show. It’s real nice family entertainment that everyone will enjoy, especially those who are familiar with Cultural Park and have attended shows here. They’ll feel like they’re at a live show again.”

To bid on auction items or to donate to the theater, visit www.culturalparktheater.com.

Search Cultural Park Theater on Facebook to find the theater’s page. The live stream will also be available on the theater’s website.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj