Did you know that qualified individuals can donate to charities from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)? This type of contribution is becoming more popular each season, so we have answered a few common questions about these donations.
WHO CAN DO THIS? Individuals age 70.5 or older who must take an annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from their IRA can make these donations.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Donors contact their IRA custodian to request the contribution. The donation check is then sent directly to the IRT! These contributions result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the year’s RMD.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT TO THE DONOR? Donors contributing from an IRA will not have to report the donated amount as income, and thus do not increase their annual adjusted gross income. This reduces federal and Indiana state income tax liabilities.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW? Donors can contribute up to $100,000 per calendar year to qualified charities using this method. However, donors giving in this way cannot receive benefits that have a monetary value (for instance, complimentary tickets or parking). Before making a gift that may affect your taxes, please speak with your tax preparer. They are qualified to advise you on how a charitable contribution will affect your specific tax liability.
Dan & Ginny Emerson are longtime IRT supporters. Dan is also a former IRT board chair and current IRT board member. The couple were Artist Sponsors of Marcus Truschinski in this season’s Every Brilliant Thing. We asked them a few questions regarding their experience with the IRT and what makes them continue to attend and support each season.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT THE IRT. WHAT SHOW DID YOU SEE AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU LEFT THE THEATRE? Billy Bishop Goes to War in 1982, and we were completely blown away by the quality of the production and the story. Dan was pretty well-versed in the actual history of Bishop and was captivated by the notion of making a musical based on his exploits. Our seats were in the back but we were completely drawn in and mesmerized. We wanted more!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE IRT PRODUCTION? That is a tough question, almost impossible to answer, but we’ll give it a shot. Ginny: Possibly Around the World in 80 Days but it only out-ranks others because it was such a fun play. The set and props were incredibly creative. It may have been the first time that I really paid attention to how much talent it takes to set the scene and how much that adds to the effectiveness of the actors telling the story. Dan: There’s not enough space to mention all my favorites. I can’t think of many instances where we’ve come out of the theatre after a show without being enthusiastic. For some reason, Rob Johansen’s hilarious one-actor performance in David Hoppe’s After Paul McCartney in 2010 particularly stands out in my memory.
WHY DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST GIFT TO THE IRT, AND WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO GIVE? We became convinced that IRT is a tremendous organization, and we decided to be as supportive as possible. Over the years, as our involvement has grown, our belief has been absolutely confirmed, largely because we’ve seen first-hand the IRT’s extraordinary level of talent, dedication, and professionalism. Selfishly, we also want to be able to see first rate productions as long as we are able, and we recognize that ticket sales cover only a small portion of what it takes to maintain the level of excellence.
ARE THERE DONOR BENEFITS THAT YOU ENJOY MOST AND WHY? Ginny LOVES the donor benefits and routinely takes advantage of what is offered. She has especially enjoyed the behind the scenes learning experiences as well as the next season previews. She’s always sad to see a season come to a close but then is always excited to anticipate the next season by getting a glimpse of what is to come. We both appreciate and admire Janet (IRT Executive Artistic Director), Suzanne (IRT Managing Director), and their staff more than words can express.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE IRT MATTERS TO THE CENTRAL INDIANA COMMUNITY? Music, theater, art, museums, parks, zoos, festivals (and sports)…the qualities of these community assets help determine a community’s quality of life. IRT is a pillar of downtown Indianapolis and, as such, plays a critical role in fleshing out what Indianapolis and Central Indiana really mean. Moreover, the unparalleled efforts made by IRT to reach and teach students throughout Indiana, by way of superb theatrical productions, may be the most important activity of the IRT because drama can help define a culture and provide common cultural denominators for all of us to share.
Chicago-based actor Aaron Kirby first appeared on the IRT’s stages in 2016’s Finding Home: Indiana at 200. Since then, he has joined us for Romeo and Juliet as Romeo and been part of Indy’s favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol. Aaron will be back for the end of the season in You Can’t Take It With You. We caught up with Aaron to learn more about his artistic experiences and life outside of acting.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE ROLE TO PLAY? That’s a tough one. One that resonates with me from recent years was getting to play Ken in John Logan’s Red. What’s not to love about getting covered in paint every show, not to mention the compelling story of master and apprentice?
WHAT IS A DREAM ROLE YOU HOPE TO PLAY SOMEDAY? I’d love to play Peter in Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale. It’s a part I understudied but never had the opportunity to perform, and I’d love to take a crack at it.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? Graphic design and animation are things I truly enjoy! I realize how critical artistic outlets are to my happiness, and those things scratch that itch for me, as well.
IF YOU COULD EAT DINNER WITH ANYONE, ALIVE OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? The answer would have to be my fiancé Emma. She always makes for the very best company.
IF YOU WERE BANISHED TO A DESERTED ISLAND AND COULD BRING ONLY THREE ITEMS WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Banished?! Oh gosh, I’m horrified to think what I did to get banished, but honestly, I’m inclined to believe if my behavior led to a BANISHMENT I likely deserve my punishment, and I will suffer the consequences without any items as my final act of contrition.
WHAT SUPERPOWER DO YOU MOST WISH YOU HAD? To be frank, I’d love the ability to turn back the hands of time to undo this banishment situation. Banished?!
Our thanks to Aaron for answering our questions for this issue! Is there an IRT artist you would like to see featured or for whom you have a specific question? Drop us a line! Email Lindsey Horan at email@example.com using the subject line Ask the Artist.
2019 is an exciting time for the IRT, as our Front and Center campaign is unveiled to the public. This campaign, designed to improve the artistry, efficiency, and financial stability of the IRT, has already yielded significant improvements to the Theatre since it began in 2016. If you are one of the many IRT patrons who have marveled at the onstage projections used so effectively in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Pipeline, or the seamless automation used in the sets of Appoggiatura, Noises Off, and Holmes and Watson, then you have already seen the Front and Center campaign at work.
While many of the benefits of the Front and Center campaign will be experienced on the stage, there is one benefit that will impact audiences before they take their seats in the Theatre. To this end, we are pleased to announce the next major Front and Center project—a full renovation of the IRT’s Upperstage Lobby. Thousands of IRT patrons pass through the Upperstage Lobby each season, and for many it is the very first space they encounter within the Theatre. Just as our acclaimed Grand Lobby sets the tone for all shows performed on the OneAmerica Mainstage, so the Upperstage Lobby welcomes all visitors into our intimate Upperstage productions; these productions are often among the most contemporary shows presented by the IRT, and the newly-renovated lobby will reflect that aesthetic with an open, modern design.
Under the expert supervision of Schmidt Associates, the lobby will be reworked into a sleek and efficient gathering space for our audience. The bar will be relocated to the far end of the room, opposite the elevators, providing patrons with unimpeded access to both refreshments and the theatre’s two entrances. This will allow audiences to move about more freely, both before a performance and during intermission. Restrooms will be fully updated, with the number of available stalls in the women’s room increasing from three to five. Renovations will also extend to the third floor Cabaret Lobby, which will gain some of the modern flair of the Upperstage redesign while maintaining elements of the classic Indiana Theatre building—for example, the ornamental sculpture which has long resided in the Upperstage Lobby will now be incorporated in this third floor space. Third floor restrooms will also be updated, further enhancing patron comfort and convenience.
Renovations will begin this spring, immediately following the closing of the season’s final Upperstage production, Amber Waves. An efficient construction schedule will guarantee that the newly refurbished spaces will be ready to welcome audiences with the first Upperstage show in the 2019-2020 Season.
The IRT is extremely grateful to its patrons for their loyal support of the Theatre, and we give special thanks to all of those who have donated to the Front and Center Campaign. Thanks to your generosity, we are able to make the kinds of improvements that will allow the Theatre to serve as a community gathering place for years to come. From the stage to the lobby and out into the community, the IRT is proud to create transformative experiences for Hoosiers throughout their lifetimes.
To find out more about the IRT’s Front and Center Campaign, and all that it will make possible, please visit the campaign webpage at irtlive.com/FrontAndCenter or contact Jennifer Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.916.4835.
Artist Sponsorship is a special opportunity for patrons and friends of the IRT to recognize an actor, director, designer, or artisan whose work they have admired. It is an exclusive benefit for Repertory Society members in the Artist, Director, and Playwright Circles (gifts of $3,000 or more annually).
The Artist Sponsorship program allows individuals to connect in a deeper way with the people who bring to life the stories we tell on our stages. Artist Sponsorship also gives our artists an opportunity to connect further with the individuals who see and support their work, creating a unique opportunity for dialogue that is meaningful for both. Ann Hinson, a long-time IRT supporter, described her Artist Sponsorship experience this way: "My professional career couldn't have been further from that of an actor or a playwright. My IRT Artist Sponsorship has given me the chance to spend time with people involved in IRT productions, learning a little about how they navigate their lives as artists. It's fascinating! The best benefit, though, is that I've developed long-lasting friendships with terrific people through some of my sponsorships."
For more information regarding our Artist Sponsorship program, contact Lindsey Horan at email@example.com.
FROM THE WINGS
From the Wings is a biannual newsletter exclusively for donors to the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
Did you know that more than 7% of all charitable giving is now done online? You can support the IRT in less than five minutes!
Have an idea for a future article, an artist you want to see featured, or just have a question or comment? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.