Big Apple Circus, the 38-year-old non-profit that provides family-friendly entertainment on tour around the U.S., failed to reach its goal in its "Save the Circus“ fundraising effort and has cancelled its 2016-2017 season.
The organization had hoped to raise $2 million by August 1, according to a June 3 statement released by executive director Will Maitland Weiss, but fell short.
The circus, which performed under a red canvas circus tent in New York‘s Damrosch Park every holiday season, released a statement saying “Big Apple Circus, whose performances in New York and around the country have thrilled audiences for years, announced today that while it has not raised sufficient funds to produce a show under its Big Top next season, the recent donations it has received will enable the organization to restructure and continue to provide community service programs, including Clown Care, which brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children.”
“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 had said in a June statement.
But the company went public in June with an emergency fundraising appeal to help cover operating costs that could not be covered by ticket sales alone. In a message on the fundraising site, Big Apple Circus cited Hurricane Sandy, the blizzard of 2014, “spiraling tourist costs” and lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis as reasons for the company’s current deficit.
“The deficit we have accumulated over several challenging seasons has been too much to overcome. Unless we raise the funds we desperately need, we will have no choice but to close the Circus,” it read.
In the end, the emergency fundraising effort raised more than $900,000 from more than 1,600 donors. “Our deepest thanks go out to the many people who sent donations and voiced their support for the Circus,” said Weiss. “While the response was heartening, we ultimately did not raise enough cash to go forward with rehearsals and ticket marketing in August. However, we will continue operating Clown Care and other community programs and hope to be able to return to performing under our Big Top in a later season, including offering our specially adapted performances for children and families affected by physical and/or cognitive challenges.“