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Zeitgeist Stage Company (ZSC)

 116 West Newton Street
 Boston, MA 02118
[P] (617) 7598836
[F] --
David Miller
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 26-3677571

LAST UPDATED: 12/04/2018
Organization DBA Zeitgeist Stage, ZSC
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

Zeit-geist n [G. fr. Zeit time + geist spirit]: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.
Zeitgeist Stage Company’s (ZSC) aim is to explore contemporary plays and rediscover historic works that reflect the combination of comedy and drama inherent in contemporary life. We look to establish a creative environment allowing theatre artists to demonstrate their talents through timely and relevant productions facilitating a connection with our audience and linkage to the community in general.

Mission Statement

Zeit-geist n [G. fr. Zeit time + geist spirit]: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.
Zeitgeist Stage Company’s (ZSC) aim is to explore contemporary plays and rediscover historic works that reflect the combination of comedy and drama inherent in contemporary life. We look to establish a creative environment allowing theatre artists to demonstrate their talents through timely and relevant productions facilitating a connection with our audience and linkage to the community in general.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $55,000.00
Projected Expense $65,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Theatrical Presentations

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Zeit-geist n [G. fr. Zeit time + geist spirit]: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.
Zeitgeist Stage Company’s (ZSC) aim is to explore contemporary plays and rediscover historic works that reflect the combination of comedy and drama inherent in contemporary life. We look to establish a creative environment allowing theatre artists to demonstrate their talents through timely and relevant productions facilitating a connection with our audience and linkage to the community in general.

Background Statement

Zeitgeist Stage Company (ZSC) was founded in 2001 with the goal of producing provocative stage productions reflective of the company’s name, meaning the ‘spirit of the times.’ The first production opened the week after September 11, 2001, proving the indomitable spirit of the arts during challenging periods. Since that initially tenuous start, the company has evolved into a three show season at the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston’s South End, with a subscription base and numerous critical accolades. ZSC celebrated their 12th Anniversary Season during the 2012/13 Season. ZSC has been honored with the prestigious Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Fringe Theater Production for their presentations of Blue/Orange (2005), Stuff Happens (2007) and The Kentucky Cycle (2008). The Company has also been nominated for the Outstanding Fringe Theater Norton Award three years in a row - My Wonderful Day (2011), Time of My Life (2012), and Tigers Be Still (2013). Founding Artistic Director (AD) David Miller was working a full time day job in information systems when he founded Zeitgeist Stage in 2001. At the same time, he and his partner established Encore Bed & Breakfast in their residence in the South End. Pursuing a career in Information Systems, along with a commitment to Encore B&B, and the ZSC prevented immediate pursuance of 501(c)(3) non-profit status due to the respective priorities of each obligation. After forming a ZSC Board of Directors in 2008, the Board engaged Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts who assisted the Company in getting our non-profit documentation together and our non-profit status was granted in June, 2009. Zeitgeist was named the 2008 Best Fringe Theater by The Improper Bostonian magazine in their annual Best of Boston issue. The Company has also been nominated for over 35 Independent Reviewer’s of New England (IRNE) Awards during the past 12 seasons, winning over eight including a special award for AD David Miller for promoting diversity casting among Boston’s small theaters. Four of Zeitgeist’s productions have been named to the annual Best of Boston Theater year-end round up lists by eight different publications since 2006. Zeitgeist Stage has participated in the Boston Theater Marathon for over 10 years, producing a ten minute play as part of Boston’s annual theater festival. ZSC has also participated in fringe theater festivals in conjunction with local companies such as Company One and The Theater Offensive.

Impact Statement

Accomplishments: 1. Fundraising: ZSC implemented a donation envelope campaign, included in every show program, asking audiences for support. We received $2,300 in micro-donations over the last year. ZSC also held a fundraising event with silent auction earning $2,250, and received a $1,500 grant through the Boston Cultural Council. The culmination of all these efforts signifies a successful fundraising year for ZSC. 2. Programming: The last show of our past season was Punk Rock, which explored an act of extreme school violence. Due to the subject matter, ZSC held talkbacks after every performance, with mental health professionals attending after each Sunday matinee. The show opened to rave reviews, with The Boston Globe observing, “Miller carefully builds the tension to its stunning crescendo.” The production was well-received critically and audiences were appreciative of the nightly talkbacks. 3. Marketing: ZSC garnered an interview with British playwright Alan Ayckbourn for The Boston Globe prior to our February production of his play, Life of Riley, resulting in a feature article . The Globe also did a preview article about Punk Rock prior to that show’s opening. Two preview articles in the Globe in a three show season is quite an accomplishment for a Boston fringe theater company. Goals 1. Audience Development: Our objective is to increase our audience attendance, especially during the first two weeks of a production’s run, before the reviews and word-of-mouth help us draw attendees. 2. Fundraising: Our objective is to increase our overall budget by boosting our fundraising efforts, complementing grants and donations. 3. Marketing: Our objective is to increase visibility of ZSC through a strategic marketing plan. Board Development: Our objective is to increase the members of our board with some higher profile community members who can attract potential donors.

Needs Statement

Staff Roles: Key management roles within the Zeitgeist Stage Company (ZSC) are performed on a volunteer basis; there are currently no paid staff positions. The ultimate objective is to have paid positions for an Artistic Director, Marketing Director, Development Director, and Production Manager. Marketing Plan & Audience Development: The Company would significantly benefit from an experienced Marketing Director to develop a marketing strategy to increase audience attendance. This effort requires funding to plan and implement a viable strategy. Programming: The Artistic Director has considered numerous plays that would have been in perfect alignment with ZSC’s mission but were out of reach of the Company’s financial capacity. Board Members: ZSC requires Board Members connected to the philanthropic community to help improve fundraising efforts for both individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Finances & Fund Raising: ZSC’s short and long term goals require funding beyond our current level of box office income. ZSC’s current goal is to raise $40,000, in addition to ticket sales, to ensure the successful achievement of the company’s goals over the next two years. This funding will allow for the above needs to be met, as well as the goals listed in our impact statement.

CEO Statement

ZSC strives to reflect the spirit of the times with theatrical programming that is both timely and provocative. ZSC presents regional premieres of contemporary works that engage audiences and inspire the participating artists. In May 2013, ZSC presented the New England professional premiere of Punk Rock by Simon Stephens. Punk Rock addresses the issue of school violence, and opened three weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings. ZSC held talkbacks following ever performance of the show, which included the participation of mental health professionals after each Sunday matinee. In his review, Ed Siegel of WBUR observed, “David Miller and his Zeitgeist Stage Company have been a cutting-edge mainstay in the growth of Boston theater. Not only has he been one of the most daring artistic directors on the local scene in terms of subject matter, but he’s also a fine director and set designer, as he shows in Punk Rock.” The critical and audience response to the Punk Rock production are typical of Zeitgeist Stage’s adventuresome programming. In October 2006, ZSC presented David Hare’s Stuff Happens about the George W. Bush and Tony Blair alliance leading up to the Iraqi war. ZSC was only the third theater company in the US to present the play after the Mark Taper Forum (LA) and the Public Theater (NYC). In an interview with the Boston Globe, Playwright Hare observed, "I was appalled and depressed and horrified by the resistance of the American theater to putting this play on, I think the American theater has gone into a collective funk since the invasion." Stuff Happens proved to be a hit for Zeitgeist Stage, selling out the initial run and extending for 4 weeks. Critical reaction was enthusiastic with Ed Siegel of WBUR commenting, “Stuff Happens is a winner. The Boston version actually works better than last year’s New York production, partly because the intimate space turns the audience into eyewitnesses to history.” Stuff Happens won a 2007 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Fringe Theater production. Other programming highlights have included Blue/Orange, an incendiary tale of race, madness and a Darwinian power struggle at the heart of Britain’s National Health Service. Blue/Orange won a 2005 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Fringe Theater production. The Kentucky Cycle was an epic presentation of 9 plays in two parts with 23 actors playing seven generations of three families over 200 years. The production won a 2008 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Fringe Theater production.

Board Chair Statement

In 2009, David Miller approached me to join the Zeitgeist Board. The original board was a cast of characters largely made up of “Friends Of Zeitgeist” - supporters of David and his work. We had some good energy, but not very much collective experience driving such an organization. The Board of Zeitgeist has evolved considerably. We have managed to bring in a number of talented people who do very good work. Our board is run on sweat equity, not cash flow. We are not a group able to write checks, we work. Hard. If there is an event, we are running every aspect of it. To promote shows we pound the pavement, we hang the signs and distribute post cards. We bring friends to shows and occasionally convince these friends to donate. We feverishly use social media to broaden the reach of our offerings. But we don’t have the traditional ‘philanthropic depth of resources’ that other boards have. The single largest challenge of any ‘working board’ is channeling the talents of your participants. We all have jobs, lives, families and other commitments to distract us from a larger time commitment to Zeitgeist Stage. However, the energy of our board is tremendous. We generate remarkable ideas. We just lack the manpower and necessary funding to implement so many of these. Sadly, it does come down to money. We know with more money, we could have greater reach through marketing and visibility campaigns. We could afford to present larger scale productions in a larger performance space, such as the BCA’s Plaza theater – next door to our current space - which seats over 150. We could pay Equity – professional union - actors who tend to bring with them their followers. With these things in place, we would be able to reach new board members that may have the more traditional connections that could help us further. We could potentially hire a marketing person to help us. Boston has a rich and vibrant theater scene. We are so lucky our small city offers so much. Zeitgeist Stage Company fills a critical niche in that scene. Season after season we bring Boston fringe productions that other creative directors are afraid to do. We boldly take on shows that others think are impossible. We bring important, and sometime controversial, theater to Boston. I know I speak for the entire Board of Directors of Zeitgeist when I say we are extremely proud of what we do.

Geographic Area Served

ZSC productions are performed in the BCA in Boston’s South End. However audience members come from the greater Boston metropolitan area including many suburbs. The performance venue is easily accessible by public transportation, which helps us attract young attendees from all over Boston and Cambridge, including many students. Based on audience surveys and addresses on our mailing list, ZSC has audiences from as far away as New Hampshire, Rhode Island and the Berkshires.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Theater
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Theater
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Theater

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Theatrical Presentations

ZSC’s primary program is the presentation of three productions each season. Currently ZSC presents a show in the fall, winter and spring. Each show has a four week run of over 20 performances following a rehearsal period of approximately four weeks. ZSC has presented numerous East Coast, New England and Boston premieres and hosted playwrights doing talk-backs following performances of their plays. In September 2008, Zeitgeist presented the American premiere of the original three act version of the Pulitzer Prize winning Edward Albee’s Seascape, through special arrangement with the playwright himself. ZSC gives back to the community by offering complimentary tickets for each production through numerous organizations in the area, such as the AIDS Action Committee, the Boston Living Center and Boston Cares. Zeitgeist offers a weeknight “Pay-What-You-Can” (PWYC) performance, which is our way of making theater accessible to the entire community.
Budget  $55,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Consistent Sustainability: ZSC is critically dependent on ticket sales to support its sustainability. Year-to-Year, sometimes production-to-production within the season, if ticket sales are not as projected for a given show, ZSC has to scramble for funds to finance the next production. Successful fundraising ensures consistent sustainability providing sufficient funds for long range pre-payments, including space rental and royalties which are needed in advance of the season’s ticket sales. Performance Space: ZSC has been performing in the Plaza Black Box Theater at the BCA, which has 90 seats, since the winter of 2002. Success in marketing and audience development goals would be to consistently sell out those 90 seats. The larger Plaza Theater at the BCA, which shares a lobby with the Black Box, has 150 seats and would be a logical next step for the organization. ZSC would need to sell the seats in the larger space to offset the additional expenses the larger space entails.
Program Long-Term Success  The long term goal is to create a sustainable environment that enables ZSC to produce quality theater in a mid-size theater in Boston. This goal includes full-time paid staff positions for an Artistic Director, Marketing Director, Development Director and Production Manager. Currently, all production staff members – designers, stage manager, etc - receive a stipend of $250 for the entire run of the show. ZSC would like to offer better payment to production staff going forward, and eventually be able to employ members of the Actor’s Equity Association, the union of stage actors. Another goal is to expand programming to 5 productions per season including original works by local playwrights. New works need additional support including a dramaturge and workshops to help the playwright in the development process. Based on ZSC’s history of theater production, ZSC feels this growth of staff and programming would be achievable without losing the quality of theater for which ZSC is recognized.
Program Success Monitored By  ZSC’s primary goal is the theatrical presentations and success is measured both in attendance, reviews, and awards. In the section on “Examples of the Programming Success,” ZSC attendance percentage and recent awards and nominations were noted. These all demonstrate successful quality in the productions thereby earning nominations and awards from the two major critic organizations, the Boston Theater Critic Association responsible for the Norton Awards, and the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) responsible for the IRNE Awards. A complete list of all awards and nominations from both organizations is available on the “Awards & Nominations” tab on ZSC has surveyed our audience on multiple occasions. The survey questions were focused on how attendees found out about ZSC and the show they attended, allowing ZSC to analyze our marketing efforts.
Examples of Program Success  Show attendance, by percentage of the theater capacity over the show’s run, for recent shows: Enron (Sept ‘10): 60%; Tiny Kushner (Sept ‘11): 60%; Tigers Be Still (April ‘12): 57%; Life of Riley (Feb ’13, 3 shows cancelled by ‘13 Blizzard): 65%; Punk Rock (May ‘13): 43% Award nominations over the last several seasons: 2013 Norton Awards Nominations: Outstanding Fringe Production (Tigers Be Still) & Outstanding Actress, Small Theater (Becca Lewis, Tigers Be Still) 2012 Norton Awards Nominations: Outstanding Fringe Production (Time of My Life), & Outstanding Actress, Small Theater (Maureen Adduci, Tiny Kushner, Time of My Life) 2012 Independent Reviewers of New England Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actress, Small Company (Obehi Janice, My Wonderful Day), Best Supporting Actor, Small Company (Peter Brown, At Home At The Zoo), Best Director, Small Company (David J. Miller, My Wonderful Day), & Most Promising Young Performer (Winner: Hyacinth Tauriac, My Wonderful Day)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

ZSC has discussed the challenges and opportunities and the plans to address these in many sections in this document. As outlined elsewhere these administrative challenges include: Staff Roles, Marketing Plan, Audience Development, Board Members, and Fund Raising. Programming goals include plays with larger sized casts and more complex staging requirements which would necessitate a larger performance space. In the past ZSC has presented some large scale theatrical projects in the Plaza Black Box theater such as Stuff Happens and The Kentucky Cycle, both of which won Norton Awards. ZSC would like to continue with adventuresome programing in the larger BCA Plaza Theater with larger seating capacity. One play ZSC has considered for a few seasons is presenting the New England premiere of Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures. The show has a large, diverse cast, complex scenic requirements and runs over 4.5 hours. Taking on such a large scale project is prohibitive at this time due to the additional expenses entailed in the production. Another programming element includes the use of both video and still projections. In November 2013, ZSC is producing Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart about the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the ‘80’s. The play’s scenes take place in numerous locales over 7 years. Projections is an excellent design option for the show, however the additional costs of designer and the necessary equipment is a serious consideration. Other programming considerations are budgets for production values, including scenery, lighting, costumes, and properties. ZSC tries to keep the budgets for these elements relatively low, however if doing period pieces – shows not set in the present time – then costumes become more complicated and expensive. (The Normal Heart is set in the 80’s, which is 30 years ago now, therefore the show is a “period” piece.) The more complicated the show with numerous settings and locales, the more complicated the scenic elements and the lighting can prove to be. These increase the lighting and set budgets proportionally. This can be a consideration in programming when considering plays for production. ZSC’s theatrical presentations are what the audiences – our patrons – experience, and the company aspires to present high quality productions. Currently, the entire ZSC budget is focused on those productions, as the administrative staff are all volunteers.


CEO/Executive Director Mr David J Miller
CEO Term Start July 2001
CEO Email
CEO Experience Producing Artistic Director (AD) David J. Miller has been actively doing theater since his college days when he earned a minor in theater. He has worked as an actor, scenic designer, and director for theaters in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts. In addition to his work in the theater, Miller also worked for 30 years in information systems for IBM and Putnam Investments. This included a three year assignment in Frankfurt, Germany for IBM. At Putnam Investments, he was a Vice President and managed a staff of 20 people and a budget of $4-5 million. For the first 6 ½ years of Zeitgeist Stage existence, Miller worked a full time job at Putnam, and was dedicated to ZSC on a part time basis. When Putnam outsourced their systems and downsized their staff in 2008, Miller took this opportunity to focus on ZSC full time. Miller is also co-owner of Encore Bed & Breakfast (B&B) which he and his partner run out of their home in Boston’s South End. Miller and his partner purchased the upstairs condo, completely renovated the space, and developed their B&B business over the last 12 years. Encore has been in operation since 2001 and has four rooms with each named after theater artists – Robbins (Jerome), Bernstein (Leonard), Sondheim (Steven) and Albee (Edward). (Playwright Edward Albee once spent the night in Encore’s Albee room.) Miller has applied his extensive experience with other small theater and fringe companies in the greater Boston area to his productions at Zeitgeist Stage. Miller has directed over 35 Zeitgeist Stage productions including 3 Norton Winners for Outstanding Fringe Theater productions, as well as a 2009 IRNE award winning production of Spring Awakening. He was awarded an IRNE award for Best Director for the Spring Awakening production and nominated for 2007 & 2008 Elliot Norton Best Director Awards for productions of Stuff Happens, Sacred Hearts, Hiding Behind Comets, Valhalla and The Kentucky Cycle.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Most Promising Young Performer: Hyacinth Tauriac, My Wonderful Day Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards 2012
Best Actor, Small Company: Victor Shopov, ENRON IRNE Award 2011
Best Director, Small Company: David J. Miller, Spring Awakening: The Play IRNE Award 2009
Best Production, Small Company: Spring Awakening: The Play IRNE Award 2009
Best Actress, Small Company: Michelle Dowd, Edward Albee's Seascape IRNE Award 2008
Outstanding Fringe Theater Production: The Kentucky Cycle Elliot Norton Award 2008
Outstanding Fringe Theater Production: Stuff Happens Elliot Norton Award 2007
Best Supporting Actress, Small Company: Michelle Dowd, The Story IRNE Award 2006
Oustanding Fringe Theater Production: Blue/Orange Elliot Norton Award 2005
Best Solo Performance, Small Company: Naeemah A. White-Peppers, Chain IRNE Award 2004
Outstanding Fringe Actress: Naeemah A. White-Peppers, Chain & Bee-luther-hatchee Elliot Norton Award 2003


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As outlined in other sections, here is a summary of the major challenges facing ZSC: · Staff Roles: The current objective is to have paid positions for Artistic Director (AD), Marketing Director, Development Director, and Production Manager. · Marketing Plan/Audience Development: With the addition of a Marketing Manager, ZSC needs a corresponding budget to implement the Marketing Plan. · Programming: ZSC’s ultimate goal is to present larger scale productions in a larger space, such as the BCA’s Plaza Theater. · Board Members: ZSC looks to expand its Board with additional, working members, as well as members with connections to Boston philanthropic community. · Finances/Fund Raising: ZSC is focusing on grants, corporate sponsorship, donations, and other ongoing fundraising efforts. · Storage/Production Resources: ZSC has a warehouse facility in a West Newton basement space where scenery is stored for future productions. ZSC needs a larger facility, as there are additional props and costumes stored at the AD’s home. The current space costs $500/month; however, increased space in proximity to Boston is needed.. · Nondiscrimination: ZSC does not have a written, established policy; however nondiscrimination is a policy which ZSC whole heartedly embodies. ZSC’s Board has included members or all races, genders, creeds and orientations. ZSC productions have featured non-traditional casting over our 12 year history including productions with predominately black and Spanish language casts. Zeitgeist Stage AD David Miller received an 2003 award from the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) for his pioneering work in non-traditional casting in Boston. · Strategic Plan: ZSC does not have a well-documented strategic plan; however through our monthly board meetings, we have extensive plans for programming, fundraising, marketing development, and staffing over the next season. These plans include the programing for our 2013/2014 season, marketing plans for the three shows, and fundraising goals. ZSC is working on addressing all these challenges on a continuing basis. Going forward, the AD in conjunction with the Board of Directors has plans for addressing these challenges.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 3
Number of Contract Staff 20
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 20
Other (if specified): Contract employees vary from show to show
Gender Female: 1
Male: 2
Not Specified 20

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A


Board Chair Ms Maureen White
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term Sept 2012 - Aug 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms Margaret Ann Brady Freelance Actress Voting
Mr Sean Geary State Street Bank --
Mr Reinhold A Mahler Encore Bed & Breakfast Voting
Mr David J Miller Zeitgeist Stage Company Voting
Ms Ulrike Mueller Community Volunteer Voting
Ms Maureen White Community Volunteer Voting
Ms Cynthia Winston Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As outlined elsewhere the overall management challenges for ZSC include: Staff Roles, Marketing Plan, Audience Development, Programming, Board Members, and Fund Raising. Currently, ZSC hires cast members and production staff (designers and stage management) on a show-by-show basis. The other administrative staff positions – Marketing, Publicity, Development, Accounting/Treasurer, Production Manager – are all volunteer. Also, these staff roles are filled by a few key individuals, which spreads our staff’s talent and expertise extremely thin. ZSC has a need to fund several full time and/or part-time staff positions, as discussed previously. This will enable more in the area of marketing outreach, audience development, and production management. ZSC’s Producing Artistic Director is responsible for hiring staff positions for each production, and works with an audition committee on casting the acting roles in each show. Oversight is provided by the Board of Directors which guides the Artistic Director in selecting the season’s shows, as well as in casting and staffing of each production. Because of the nature of the current staffing model and the size and scope of the staff, there are few written policy and procedures. There is also not a written management succession training plan. Despite being in existence as an organization for 12 years and being a non-profit since June 2009, ZSC is still a very young organization in terms of both budget and staff size. The ZSC Board of Directors was formed in 2009, and has a number of people who have joined and also resigned from the board for a number of personal reasons. ZSC does not have written selection criteria, as we’re always searching for Board members and have somewhat loose criteria as candidates are not lined up to obtain ZSC Board positions. Also, there are no written conflict of interest guidelines, as there is nothing – really - to conflict with being on the ZSC Board.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $55,000.00
Projected Expense $65,000.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990-EZ

2012 Form 990-EZ

2012 Profit Loss per ZSC

2011 Form 990-EZ

2011 Profit Loss per ZSC

2010 Form 990-EZ

2010 Profit Loss per ZSC

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $55,527 $51,867 $49,533
Total Expenses $49,770 $58,479 $52,220

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $14,162 $10,147 $6,970
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $41,365 $41,720 $40,757
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- $1,806
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $49,393 $27,179 $7,029
Administration Expense $377 $31,300 $45,191
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.12 0.89 0.95
Program Expense/Total Expenses 99% 46% 13%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $8,364 $1,607 $5,719
Current Assets $8,364 $1,607 $5,719
Long-Term Liabilities $50,970 $49,970 $47,470
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $-42,605 $-48,363 $-41,751

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 609% 3,110% 830%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

ZSC as a small, fringe theater company in Boston has consistently been working towards sustainability. Over our 12 year history, ZSC has worked on coordinating ticket sale income, donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, and other funding sources to enable the company to flourish and ensure our ability to proceed onto the next season. ZSC has consistently kept expenses low on productions in this ongoing effort to be sustainable. Artist and staff stipends are relatively low ($250/per production), and production expenses are kept low while still ensuring the delivery of a quality theatrical presentation. ZSC performs in the Plaza Black Box Theater at the BCA which seats 90 and productions run for 21 performances. We keep our ticket prices low - $25 for pre-sale, $30 on the day-of-performance, and $20 for Seniors/Students. ZSC also offers Pay-What-You-Can performances ($7 Minimum) on Wednesdays to make theater accessible to the community. ZSC has also offered complimentary tickets to members of the Boston Living Center, AIDS Action Committee, Boston Cares and other community organizations. The size of our performance venue and size of our potential audience is a challenge when ZSC is soliciting corporate sponsors, program advertisements, and other sponsors which can be dependent on the amount of exposure the donor may receive. ZSC Board members are Friends-of-Zeitgeist (FoZ); however they are not wealthy donors that can contribute significantly to the finances of organization. ZSC is actively looking for Board members that can bring additional skills to the organization. ZSC receives donations from audience members on a regular basis. For our 10th anniversary we included donation envelopes in every program during the season. With the success of that program, it has been continued during subsequent seasons. Donations are typically micro-donations between $20 to $50. Occasionally something larger is received, donations of $100 or more are significant for ZSC but rare. ZSC has successfully applied for grants in the past, especially for grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2010 and 2012. ZSC attended the StageSource conference in June 2013, including a workshop on Grant Writing. This provided information about grants, which ZSC is actively pursuing. That workshop lead us to completing this profile for The Boston Foundation, among other activities.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS 990-EZ's. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
The organization has worked with its IRS Tax preparer to better denote and allocate the program expenses within its Form 990s. Fiscal years 2011 and 2012 did not fully reflect the level of programmatic expenses incurred or taking place. Please refer to the detailed Profit Loss documents, provided by the organization, for those fiscal years, posted above, for a more detailed categorization of the Company's expenses.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?