A Letter From Our Executive Director

An update for valued members of our TDF community

Letter dated: 5/08/20

Dear friend,

You are a valued member of our TDF community, which is why I'm writing to give you an update as we make our way through this difficult time. As someone who is fortified by attending the theatre, I was profoundly moved by Joel Grey’s April 22 op-ed in The New York TimesBefore Coronavirus, Theatre Was My Salvation. Where Do I Turn Now?

I do not yet have an answer as to where we should turn, nor do I know when theatres will reopen. However, after a lifetime of working in the theatre, I know that folks who love the performing arts are amazingly resilient. Our humanity helps us get through this.

As I recently told Sandy Kenyon on ABC7 Eyewitness News, TDF’s income dried up immediately when performance venues closed. Like so many nonprofits and small businesses, we had to pivot as the world changed overnight, laying off part-time staff and making significant pay cuts for full-time employees. Despite these hardships, we are finding innovative ways to continue to fulfill our mission during the pandemic. As part of the TDF family, you know what theatre and dance do for so many people. We are working hard to provide a version of that experience—as best we can—while theatres are dark.

We have taken a number of steps to ensure TDF's longevity, and we are happy to share some good news. Over the last eight weeks we have raised $340,000 toward our goal of $500,000 for our TDF LIFELINE CAMPAIGN: PROTECT TODAY, REBUILD TOMORROW. This includes generous support from the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, The Lucille Lortel Foundation, several anonymous funders and thousands of individual TDF members and fans. We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed thus far.

We also count ourselves extremely lucky to have received a Paycheck Protection Program Loan through the CARES Act. These recent successes are helping to sustain TDF in the short term, providing necessary breathing room to plan and prepare for when theatres reopen.

While we don’t know what the theatre will look like when it comes back, we do know that TDF’s reliance on charitable support has permanently changed. Without significantly increasing the percentage of our income that comes from donations and grants, our ability to make the arts accessible to all will be threatened even after the pandemic subsides.

We still have a lot of work to do rebuilding together. If you have not already, please consider donating to TDF’s Lifeline Campaign, and tell your representatives in Washington that the performing arts must be included in future stimulus bills. I invite you to share your theatre memories and your hopes for the future with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. I have been imagining what it will be like the first time we all sit in a theatre together again, that moment when we lean in and are transported. For now, I leave you with the sweetest note I’ve received in ages from a longtime TDF member:

“I’m the person who was waiting for her pension check in order to determine if I could contribute to TDF. So happy to report that I can. These days are unbearably stressful, but we’re also blessed with time to consider that which is meaningful in our normal (remember “normal”?) lives. TDF, for me, is right up there with those things that make life in this city worth living. Thank you for all you do.”

Please do all you can to stay well.


Tory Bailey
Executive Director, TDF

View the earlier letter