The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


Gaining a New Perspective on Old Items

Jenna Reaves
Shoppers browse clothing at the Thrift Store On The Stage.

No school organization went untouched by the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many recovered fairly quickly. For theater programs, such as Paint Branch’s own Perspectives, a quick recovery was not in the cards. 

Perspectives, headed by Ms. Amber Perkins, continues to feel the sting of the pandemic even three years out, and ended last year with the program budget in the red despite two great productions, The Hallelujah Girls and The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. Regarding these budget issues, Ms. Perkins says, “Unfortunately, since the pandemic, the number of people attending our shows has not gone back to what we used to consider ’normal,’ and at the end of last year, we were negative in our main account for the first time in my 20 years here.”

Monetary complications for the theater program originated as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, starting in 2020. Ms. Perkins recalls, “In March of 2020, we were one week away from opening “The Little Mermaid” when we were sent home for two weeks. Since we did not come back, and we had already put out all that money, we lost about $3000 just then.” 

Ms. Perkins adds, “During the pandemic, we did two virtual shows, but did not make nearly what we make on our live productions. When we returned The House at Pooh Corner did not attract the community audience we hoped, and we barely broke even. That spring, we had to cancel Pippin before we even auditioned because of Omicron.  Since the copyright house (the company we pay to be able to do these shows) had already sent the materials, they charged us the full rental fee of $1250.”

To combat these financial troubles Ms. Perkins decided to hold a unique fundraiser, a Thrift Store on the Stage.  “The Thrift Store came to me as an idea–one, because we had SO much stock in our props and costume rooms that we could try to sell, and two, because it is much easier to get people to donate their old stuff than money!” she said.

Donations poured in as family, friends, students and staff, and others dropped off clothes and
other items to support the event. Perspectives students and teacher volunteers spent a week sorting, arranging and pricing items before the fundraiser date of Saturday, September 30th. Many of these students and teachers also volunteered their weekend morning to help at the fundraiser itself, assisting shoppers, packing boxes, selling concessions, and more. 

The community showed up for Perspectives as many familiar faces, such as former students and their families, came to support the fundraiser and shop, as did members of the community that had had no prior interactions with the theater program or even Paint Branch. Shoppers spent time browsing the wide selection of goods, chatted with volunteers, and bought concessions.

As for whether the fundraiser was a success, Ms. Perkins says emphatically, “We made enough to get out of the red and get almost back to ’normal’ in our overall account. We usually spend about $10,000 a year, and good business practice would be to have that much in the account. We are far from it. So, I also lowered the budget for both of this year’s shows in the hope that we will actually make money from ticket sales.”

To those who are looking to support Paint Branch’s theater program going forward, Ms. Perkins says: “Come see the shows! Bring your friends! Really, we don’t want to ask for donations and have big fundraisers.  As a Theatre Company, we want to be self-sustaining. This school has over 2000 students, and we are lucky if 200 of those support us by coming to see what we are doing. If we could get even half of the student body to come to one show of the two this year, we would be completely back on budget for next year.”

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