“Melcher+Tucker Consultants was instrumental in helping Writers Theatre craft the best possible fundraising brochure and accompanying materials for our On To A New Stage Campaign - a $32 million project to establish a Jeanne Gang-designed theatre center on Chicago's North Shore. Rick and Anne listened to the many voices at the table, and quickly assessed and understood the project and our potential audience. They integrated all of the project details and our story into a streamlined, cohesive, and high impact piece.”
Capital Campaign Collateral Development, Media Relations
Writers Theatre, hailed as the “best drama company in the nation” by the Wall Street Journal, was launching a $34 million capital campaign – “On To A New Stage” – to build a signature new theater complex in the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe. Designed by internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principal Jeanne Gang, the new theater would recognize Writers’ reputation for excellence, allow for growth in audience and in new events for students and the local community. To prepare for the campaign, Writers needed assistance in developing messaging and materials to present to prospective donors, and training for development staff and board members to make “the ask.” Following groundbreaking for the new theater, Writers required media planning to prepare for the grand opening.
Working with the development, artistic and board leadership of the theater, Melcher+Tucker Consultants and our graphic design partner carried out copy development and editing for the elegant fundraising brochure. We studied the competitive positioning of the theater, and led a team of theater executives and board members through fact-finding and messaging sessions to create the thematic narrative for the brochure – the vitality of Writers Theatre and the critical need for a new facility to sustain its distinctive artistic experience. Together with developing the content for the brochure, we equipped development staff and board members with an FAQ to answer the tough questions and make the strongest case for the new building. In the run-up to the official opening in February, 2016, we prepared a comprehensive local and national media relations plan to promote the theater’s artistic and executive leadership and the impact of the new theater on the broader Chicago theatrical community.
The new brochure was produced and in the hands of fundraisers to begin discussions about the campaign with key stakeholders well ahead of the groundbreaking. Staff was also equipped with the additional messaging to support the campaign in presentations to prospective donors. Development staff and board members enthusiastically embraced the materials as integral to these important discussions, which helped meet targeted goals. Media relations, carried out with theater leadership and communications counsel, generated widespread excitement for the opening of the new center in early 2016. The opening received widespread Chicago area and national newspaper, magazine, TV and radio exposure, ranging from the Chicago Tribune and WTTW to American Way magazine and the Wall Street Journal.