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Image for 20-21  Dayton Live Community Report
20-21 Dayton Live Community Report
August 18, 2021 - June 30, 2022
Letter from Leadership


Last year we said that the 2019-2020 Season was unlike any other. That’s even more true for the 2020-2021 Season. We thought we would have a 20-21 Season when we produced our last community report, but it was not to be. With only a limited season of hybrid performances presented by the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) and a small number of Victoria Theatre community performances, our venues were strangely dark and silent for most of the season.

Several streaming performances were offered by Dayton Live – and to a greater degree by The Human Race Theatre Company and DPAA – and were very well received, but the lobbies and seats remained for the most part empty.

The great news is that signs of life are now apparent.

Through layoffs and furloughs, the Dayton Live staff was significantly reduced by necessity, to the tune of almost 90% of the company. Hiring has now begun with house managers being among the first to return for dance recitals and competitions, corporate, and community events. As we look toward the fall and the true reopening of our venues at full capacity, the anticipation is tremendous, and the planning is frenetic.

During this extended intermission, we have networked with our peers around the country sharing best practices during quarantine and plans for reopening. Members of our senior staff worked closely with Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, and the Cincinnati Arts Association to not only successfully advocate at the state level for funding, but also to create best practices for safety and cleaning protocols. We have also advocated for the best touring Broadway shows available and the future looks bright with HAMILTON, CATS, and COME FROM AWAY all on the calendar. Season Ticket numbers are higher than they’ve been in 15 years.

We are grateful for the support of local, state, and federal leaders who have worked on our behalf to offer several programs that have helped us survive the last year. Without funding from individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental sources, our future would be greatly in doubt. Thank you to all those who have made our future secure.

Although we anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic may still cause modifications or adjustments to our future plans, the outlook remains strong. Our Dayton community is passionate about the arts and patrons want to be together. We continue to create programs that elevate a thriving downtown experience and bring people together to celebrate. Dayton Live will continue to move forward together and we can’t wait to see you at the theatre!

Ty Sutton  
President & CEO

Chris Wyse
President, Board of Trustees


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Mission & Vision


Your home for arts, culture & entertainment

Now more than ever, Dayton Live elevates a thriving downtown experience as the primary host and presenter for performing arts in the region. Our mission is to strengthen community engagement in the arts through inspiring performances, educational opportunities, and world-class venues. As we look back at the 2020-2021 season and ahead to the new year, our mission is more important than ever.

Dayton Live, located in the heart of downtown Dayton, is one of city’s premier not-for-profit arts organizations and the largest real estate owner in downtown proper. We present more than 300 performances for all ages and interests each year, including touring Broadway, comedians, concerts, films, and family shows. We operate and maintain the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts CenterVictoria Theatrethe PNC Arts Annex, and Metropolitan Arts Center (home of The Loft Theatre) for the benefit of the community and the arts organizations that use them. We also own and operate The Arts Garage.

Located in the blocks between First and Second Streets and Main and Ludlow Streets, this vibrant arts district is home to Dayton’s finest professional and pre-professional performing arts organizations. Rental fees and other costs are greatly subsidized for these nonprofit arts organizations - called Resident Companies - which are integral to our robust arts community here in the Dayton region and to Dayton Live’s success:















In addition, Dayton Dance Initiative, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Dare2Defy, The Nerve and Underdog Academy frequently use Dayton Live venues.

Top Six Things

DAYTON LIVE, formerly Victoria Theatre Association, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, mission-driven arts organization. That means we rely on gifts and donations from the community to pursue our mission. Donations to DAYTON LIVE are tax-deductible, to the extent the law allows.

DAYTON LIVE owns and operates the Victoria Theatre, the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, the first three floors of the Performance Place tower next door to the Schuster Center, the Metropolitan Arts Center (home to The Loft Theatre), and the PNC Arts Annex - as well as The Arts Garage.

Our resident companies – Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera & Dayton Philharmonic), The Human Race Theatre Company, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Dance Initiative, and Muse Machine – are valued tenants of the buildings we own and operate. Their success is integral to our success.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, DAYTON LIVE laid off 77% of the people it employed and lost millions in ticket and event revenue. Rebuilding of the staff has begun cautiously and ticket revenue for the new season is strong.

DAYTON LIVE Education & Community Engagement programs reached more than 81,000 participants over the past year through innovative "virtual field trips," despite of COVID restrictions. 

DAYTON LIVE normally has an economic impact of $25 - $28 million each year. (This sum represents the total dollars spent by Dayton Live and its patrons, including event-related spending by our patrons which is estimated using average dollars spent per person by arts event attendees in similarly sized cities.) Determined by the Americans for the Arts Economics & Prosperity Calculator, the economic impact of DAYTON LIVE over the past year was $7.9 million, despite of the pandemic.

Our Venues

Dayton Live is proud to own and operate some of the region's finest performance venues. We consider this a trust, a stewardship, a privilege. These venues exist because of the passion, foresight and determination of Daytonians past and present. 

Our Programming


Dayton Live’s strategic plan includes a goal to redefine what relevant programming looks like in our community by diversifying presentations and focusing on inclusion. To achieve this, staff members are building relationships with national agents to book a variety of entertainment that is accessible to everyone in price and interest. The 2020-2021 Season has been one of building relationships and planning for the future.

Dayton Live has maintained support for the following programs which will launch again in the 2021-2022 Season:

Premier Health Broadway in Dayton
Bringing the hottest touring Broadway shows to Dayton

Dayton Children’s Family Series
Introducing families with children ages 4-10 to the magic of live performing arts

Projects Unlimited Star Attractions
Drawing a broad cross section of our community to our venues through a wide variety of performances

National Geographic Live,
sponsored by Subaru of America and Wagner Subaru
Featuring acclaimed Nat Geo adventurers/speakers telling their stories with video and stunning photography

Universal 1 Credit Union Music Series
Showcasing a variety of bands and musical artists in the intimate acoustics of the Victoria Theatre

Visual Voices
Celebrating the work of African-American visual artists in greater Dayton with an exhibit curated by Willis “Bing” Davis of EbonNia Gallery

Wintergarden Wonderland
Sharing the Rike’s Holiday Windows to the delight of Miami Valley families

Assisting up-and-coming arts groups from across the region with a newly retooled program to welcome more organizations to produce their work in the PNC Arts Annex

For Dayton Live’s extensive Education & Engagement programs, see below.

Education & Engagement



Dayton Live strives to meet the needs of area schools and students, ensuring as many young people as possible experience enriching arts education programs as part of their academic journey. Typically, activities designed for students in grades K-12 include the Discovery Series, featuring school day performances at the Victoria Theatre in downtown Dayton, as well as Discovery master classes, theatre camps, after-school intensives, and the Teen Usher & Ambassador program. But the 2020-2021 school year was anything but typical.

Like most performing arts organizations that provide essential arts education to their communities, Dayton Live had to re-evaluate its programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered venues and sent students into virtual and hybrid environments. The 2020-2021 Season marked the 30th anniversary of the Discovery Series at Dayton Live; we couldn’t let the year go by without serving students and educators. In this challenging environment, they needed us more than ever. Dayton Live Education found a way to move forward and reach more students than ever before with “Virtual Field Trips.”

Thanks to innovative educators and artists, “Virtual Field Trips” became possible and provided quality arts education throughout a difficult school year. Most importantly, Dayton Live stayed committed to removing as many barriers as possible for students and educators to participate, making four virtual field trips free of charge.

More than 81,000 students and educators participated.

Venue Management


Due to the generosity of this community, Dayton is blessed with incredible arts venues, and Dayton Live has the privilege of owning and operating four professional facilities in downtown Dayton for the benefit of the community: the historic Victoria Theatre; the state-of-the-art Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center; the Metropolitan Arts Center, which includes offices, studios and The Loft Theatre; and the PNC Arts Annex. The cost of operating these facilities is tremendous – with or without performances happening on their stages. The operation is supported mainly through fundraising to ensure these venues are always available to the non-profit arts organizations at affordable rates.

Dayton Live Ticket Office: This centralized ticketing service, formerly known as Ticket Center Stage, serves seven local arts organizations, as well as others who rent the venues, typically selling in excess of 315,000 tickets annually and generating $11.1 million in sales. This past season saw 18,279 tickets issued for a value of $396,208.

Food & Beverage / Catering & Events: Previous plans to unveil a new concept in food & beverage service have been delayed by the pandemic, but patrons can look for new options starting in the spring of 2022.

Volunteers: Our volunteer corps of close to 600 volunteers provides vital support to our operations by serving primarily as ushers at all performances in our four venues. In an average season, over 54,000 hours are given in service to the arts community by these dedicated individuals from all over the Miami Valley. 

The Arts Garage: Owned and operated by Dayton Live, this clean, safe, and conveniently located parking garage near the Schuster Center provides parking for performances and for downtown business people on a daily basis. In an average season, The Arts Garage serves more than 420,000 motorists. This past season saw only 56,106 vehicles, including both monthly and daily parkers.

Advocating for the Arts & Event Industry


The 15% of Capacity Story

On August 20, 2020, the State of Ohio stated that large gathering venues could be open at 15% of capacity. Venues all over the region were peppered with questions from media and the public: “Why aren’t you open?” Dayton Live chose to illustrate what 15% of capacity really looked like in the Mead Theatre at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Brightly colored poster boards were placed on the seats that could be sold throughout the orchestra level and loge of the Mead Theatre. Then the media were invited on stage to talk with Ty Sutton and get a little perspective on how Dayton Live operates. Dayton Daily News, Dayton.com, WHIO, WDTN, and WKEF/WRGT all covered the event and shared the information with their readers and viewers. 

15% Capacity Revenue Vs Expense presentation

#RedAlertRestart #SaveOurStages #WeMakeEvents

Dayton Live partnered with members of IATSE #66, our local stagehand union, as well as the National Independent Venues Association and venue operators across the Dayton region to call attention to the deep financial plight of the live event industry. September 1 saw more than 5,000 buildings across North America lit up red – including 16 live performance venues in the Dayton region. The event was successful in raising public awareness that the Live Events Industry was on “red alert” for its very survival. Individuals from all over the Miami Valley contacted their senators and representatives, asking that they support the Save Our Stages and RESTART Act, and extend Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The state-wide campaign resulted in 3,305 direct messages to Representative Mike Turner and thousands more in messages to Senators Portman and Brown.

It was estimated that 96%, or as many as 12 million people nationwide, in the Live Events Industry were unemployed, furloughed, or lost up to 90% of their income at this point last fall. Once a robust $35 billion industry, the Live Events business was the first to close and is proving to be the last to re-open fully. Nearly 47% of all the individuals out of work in Ohio last fall were from the arts and events industry. That’s about 300,000. More than the leisure and hospitality sector – or even restaurants and bars.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (formerly known as the Save Our Stages Act) was passed as part of H.R. 133, a spending bill that passed in December 2020 and includes a $15 billion allocation for independent entertainment venues and cultural institutions, but also benefits performing arts organizations, producers, promoters, museums, talent representatives, and independent movie theatres. 

Dayton Live chose to take an active role in communicating about the Shuttered Venue Operators grant. A temporary website was launched by Dayton Live to assist local venues and presenters with information.

The website included links to the Small Business Administration (SBA) which is administering the grant program, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) which is taking the lead in communication about the grant, as well as Small Business Development Centers and Ohio Citizens for the Arts for additional support and eligibility information. Once complete information was available from the Small Business Administration, the site was taken down as it was no longer needed.

Celebrating One Year As Dayton Live

On March 10, 2021, Dayton Live celebrated its first birthday. And what a year it was. A year previously Victoria Theatre Association gathered 2,000 of its closest friends and announced a new season and a new brand identity for the storied arts organization: Dayton Live. Two days later, its acclaimed venues were shuttered and performances halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of Ohio’s mandates. One year later, Dayton Live’s venues were open for specific resident company performances at 25% of total capacity. Representatives from Dayton Live’s various stakeholders created a Birthday video to help celebrate and Dayton Live used the occasion to tease about the new season that was announced later on April 6.

2020-2021 by the Numbers
27    Total number of performances & events in our venues
7,167   Total attendance at all live performances
83,470   Total attendance at all streamed performances/programs
90,637   Total attendance at all kinds of performances and events in our venues
3,551   Total number of new patron households to Dayton Live Ticket Office

Year-End Financials
(Unaudited as of August 8, 2021)

Economic Impact for 2020-2021 Season

Traditionally, our annual economic impact in the Dayton region is approximately $25 million. For the 2020-2021 Season, our economic impact is


This is the total dollars spent by Dayton Live, as a nonprofit arts and cultural organization, and its audiences; event-related spending by cultural audiences is estimated using the average dollars spent per person, per event by cultural attendees in similarly populated communities. 


The Generosity of Dayton


We thrive on our ability to earn income to keep the organization healthy. At a time where we had no choice but to go hat in hand asking for help, our community showed how generous they are.  We want to especially acknowledge these generous individuals, companies, organizations, and foundations for their community spirit and for believing so strongly in the arts and in Dayton Live. 

AES - Ohio
Alpha Media
Arts Midwest Touring Fund
Andy Snow
Anna Baugham
Auman Mahan & Furry
Automatic Gates Plus
Brady Ware & Company
  CPAs and Business Advisors
Brian Foley
Carter Fraser Inc.
Chaminade Julienne High School
Charles D. Berry Foundation
City of Dayton
Claire Mitchell
Coolidge Wall
Cox Radio & Cox Media Group
Darsheel Kaur
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Dayton Art Solutions
Dayton Children’s Hospital
Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Foundation
Dayton Power and Light
  Company Foundation
Deron Bell
Dinsmore & Shohl
Dr. Robert Jensen DDS
Event Booking
Far Hills Acupuncture
Friendship Village
Grunder Landscaping Company
Heidelberg Distributing Company
iHeart Media
Iron Road
Kettering Family Philanthropies
Kevin Cornell
Kircher Design & Build
Korrect Plumbing
The Kuntz Foundation
LCNB National Bank
Leroy Bean
Marion’s Piazza
Miller-Valentine Group
Montgomery County
Montgomery County Arts
  and Cultural District
Ohio Arts Council
Ordesign, LLC
Pamela Baugham
Perfection Group
Pickrel Schaeffer & Ebeling
Port Technology
Premier Health
Projects Unlimited Inc.
Real Art
Roberts Center / Holiday Inn
Schiewetz Foundation
Shops by Todd
Sierra Leone
Skelley & Company
State of Ohio
Steve and Kate Hone
Steve Williams
Subaru of America
Superior Dential Care
The Berry Family Foundation
Think TV
Thompson Hine
Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company
Tobias Funeral Home
Universal 1 Credit Union
Victoria Moore
Wagner Subaru
Walnut Creek Retirement Community
WDPR Classical 88.7
Winsupply and The Winsupply
  Family of Companies
WKEF/WRGT Dayton 24/7 Now
Wright State Physicians
Wyse Family Foundation
WYSO 91.3

Dayton Live Board of Trustees

2020-2021 Board of Trustees


Chair  Chris Wyse

President & COO, Projects Unlimited

Vice ChaiDave S. Dickerson

Partner/Dayton Market President, Miller-Valentine Group

Past Chair  Martha Shaker

President, Concept Rehab, Inc.

Treasurer  David McGillivary

Tax Senior Manager, Brixey & Meyer

Secretary  Wendy Lewis

CEO, Logos @ Work, LLC


Erin R. Davis  Attorney, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Mark Keeton  President, Taylor Promotional Products

Kurt Knapke  Vice President, Solution Strategy, Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Nick Lair  Vice President, Value Integration, Premier Health

Albert Leland  Community Volunteer

Marla Schuster Nissan  Attorney/Legal Recruiter, Alan Roberts & Associates

Casey Ott  Global Commodity Leader, GE Aviation

Rick Peters  CEO, Tangram Flex

Monte Salsman  President, Winsupply Acquisitions Group, Winsupply Inc.

Patti L. Stoll  Vice President, Wealth Director, PNC Bank, Wealth Management

Rodney Veal  Completion Coordinator, Sinclair Community College, Television Host, ThinkTV/CET Connect

Terra Williams  Director, Health Promotion, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County