Newsletter – 01/06/2023

Dear Strand Fan, 

Happy New Year.   Hard to believe we have made it through 2022.    It was quite a year.   This newsletter is a short recap of the year that was.    Enjoy!

January 2022:  The pandemic is still at the forefront.   The Strand has done very little since closing other than work to the theater.  During the pandemic we started two major projects.   The first was the replacement of our stage.  The old 1916 stage was raked (sloped).   It was replaced with a strong modern structure that is perfectly flat.  At the same time we expanded the dressing room under the stage.  Our volunteers hand dug the dirt for the expansion.   We reinstalled the original north stairs and brought the expanded space up to modern standards.   The rush was on to finish the project.

February 2022:  The Strand came back into use on February 15.  We were unsure of how things would go, but decided to give it a try.   Our first public performance was February 26.   It worked.  We decided to reopen with confidence.

March 2022:  Comedian Heywood Banks performed.  This was a reschedule of his canceled 2020 date.   We had a great crowd.   Confidence was high as everyone had a safe and fun time.   Let’s get the theater rolling again.   The booking started in earnest.   Normally we are booked a year in advance, so starting in March presents its own challenges.  Slowly Friday Night Frights and the Community Treasure Series returned.   We hosted our first large scale concert at the end of the month with a Buddy Holly Tribute.  It was a blast. 

April 2022:  Only a handful of events.  We started our Strand Lecture Series and hosted our first Poetry Night since 2019.   A tribute to The Doors ended the month.   Still slow, but gaining momentum.  Our volunteers have started to return, something we worried about.   Sadly, the audience hasn’t.

May 2022:  We hosted our recurring monthly events and welcomed students from Shelbyville Middle School for a concert.    We discovered our AC units did not work.   Sadly the Strand was a victim of theft.  Of all things they took our refrigerant gas from all 7 rooftop units.   Wide media coverage helped get the Strand’s name back in the forefront.   We were thankful for the publicity, just sad about the reason. 

June 2022:   The 38th Infantry Band from the Indiana National Guard performed.   We also had our first Rocky Horror Picture Show event.   The learning curve was steep, but the Strand and our volunteers continued to get back in the groove.  We finished the first half of the year with 33 events.   A normal number would be 70+ events.  It was taking longer to get back on track than anticipated.   The bookings were happening, but wouldn’t start until the third quarter.

July 2022:  A big band concert, a few films, a couple of lectures.   It was slow going, but we were still working on getting back on our feet.   The bright side is our volunteers were continuing to help.   The audience attendance was getting a little better too.   

August 2022:  More events, larger shows.   The Strand was getting into the groove.  It felt good! 

September 2022:  Our attendance continues to grow.   We did 7 events and presented a wide variety of entertainment including live music, film, dance, and spoken word.   We even celebrated the wedding of one of our board members!

October 2022:  Here we go.  Three large shows in a row.  Complex setup, national touring acts, and over the top entertainment.    We had our first sellout with Fleetwood Gold.   It felt good!  We decorated for Halloween for the first time in three years.   The month finished with Sammy Terry live on stage in a historic event reserved for the Strand.

November 2022:  Music, comedy, movies, and fun.   We had a wide variety in November.  Our volunteers got the theater ready for the Christmas season.  The theater looked great!

December 2022:  Down to the home stretch.   More music, great shows, and two sold out performances for Donnie Baker…or so we thought.    3 days before the event Donnie had to postpone until April.   Our volunteers stepped up and managed the plethora of ticket requests and media contacts to get this show rescheduled.   While it was tough financially, most patrons opted to keep their tickets until April (THANK YOU!!!)

*****

The year was filled with highs and lows.   We finished with 84 events.  Amazing considering we had nothing booked as of March 1.    We welcomed 7,179 patrons into the Strand.   These are all very low numbers compared to a normal year, but we were thrilled to do as well as we did.   The average attendance per show was down, as expected.  The average trended up as the year progressed.  That is what we were looking for. 

2022 saw the implementation of our new ticketing system, point of sale systems, audio production planning, and energy strategies.   All worked great and took us to the next level in those areas.      We also saw our community help in ways that we could not imagine.   We had patrons donate funds to help cover our theft, offset performance losses, and even install automatic doors.    How great is that!   Thank you all.  

2023 started booking in July.    We have many shows and look forward to making our season announcement in the coming weeks.    We appreciate  the support and are optimistic for the future.   Work sessions start this week on Saturday January 7 from 9am – 1pm. 

Thank you for a great year!  See you at the Strand.