Big Apple Circus, whose performances in New York and around the country have thrilled audiences for years, said today that it is in critical financial condition and will be forced to close unless it raises $2 million over the next two months.
Executive Director Will Maitland Weiss said the organization is going public with a major fundraising appeal, reaching beyond the over 200,000 families in its database in an effort to raise the necessary funds, without which there will be no 2016 performances at Lincoln Center and the Circus will come to an end. He also said the organization has launched a special fundraising website, www.savethecircus.org, where supporters could respond to this emergency appeal.
“Our acrobats may be leaping their last dazzling leap,” Weiss said. “Our aerialists may never again make us gasp in wonder as they glide through the air with the greatest of ease. And this may be the last laugh for our clowns, who have brought joy to audiences young and old for so many years. The Big Apple Circus is in trouble.”
“Our ticket sales in New York City, including Lincoln Center and Queens, where we are performing right now, have remained steady, so we know our audience is still there,” Weiss said. But ticket sales only cover a portion of the Circus’ operating expenses and, like other nonprofits, Big Apple Circus relies on the generous support of many individuals and public and private institutions.
Weiss pointed to a number of factors that have contributed to the Circus’ economic distress, particularly a significant drop in revenue from private performances, where companies buy the entire tent, which began after the 2008-2009 recession and has never recovered. The Circus also suffered as, over a three-year period, tragedy repeatedly hit locations where it was performing: Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012, the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and the Atlanta ice storms in 2014.
“If you believe in what we do, don’t let the Circus close. If you believe our work enriches the lives of children and adults of all ages, inside and outside the tent, please keep the Big Apple Circus alive. Go to www.savethecircus.org and give.”
Conceived and founded by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen to be a leading presenter of live family entertainment and a nonprofit performing arts institution, our nation-wide performances and community programs have made our 38-year history far-reaching and full. Our mission is to invigorate the communities we serve with the joy and wonder of classical circus. We create authentic, direct contact; laughter and delight, under the Big Top and in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools across the country.
For more information, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.