Lean Ensemble Theater
PO BOX 23214
HILTON HEAD SC 29925-3214
Contact Information
Organization DBA (Doing Business As)
Organization DBA
Address PO BOX 23214
HILTON HEAD, SC 299253214
Telephone (843) 715-6676
E-mail info@leanensemble.org
Projected Annual Revenue $120,000.00 (2017)
Web and Social Media
Video https://vimeo.com/147737137
Mission Statement Lean Ensemble Theater is a professional, performing arts based company founded in the spirit that theater is a living entity which is bigger than any individual or group lucky enough to work in the field. Despite many long-held hypotheses that theater is a dying art form, we choose to celebrate its vibrancy and longevity. It is our belief that a band of artists can come together in the truest sense of the word ensemble, each part in relation to the whole, and bring an innovative form of theater to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a community ready to lean forward and engage, hungry for something with a bit more bite.
CEO/Executive Director Blake White
Board Chair Myla Lerner
Board Chair Company Affiliation Mylar Productions
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2015
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Revenue vs Expenses Area Graph - All Years

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Lean Ensemble Theater is a professional, performing arts based company founded in the spirit that theater is a living entity which is bigger than any individual or group lucky enough to work in the field. Despite many long-held hypotheses that theater is a dying art form, we choose to celebrate its vibrancy and longevity. It is our belief that a band of artists can come together in the truest sense of the word ensemble, each part in relation to the whole, and bring an innovative form of theater to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a community ready to lean forward and engage, hungry for something with a bit more bite.

Lean Ensemble Theater began its journey in August of 2014 when a meeting was held with leading local business people and active theatre artists. A pitch was made by Founding Artistic Director Blake White that, while Hilton Head had a very strong arts community and “arts scene,” that something was missing. Hilton Head and its surrounding area had no shortage of live theatre, but most offerings in the Lowcountry were of the musical variety and no local company was concentrating on more intimate, “conversation driven” theatre. This could be changed. The consensus was that this idea had great merit and that the best first step was to put something out there that would best represent who we want to be. The goal became to try and raise a small amount of money in order to put a play on stage that fit the mission of this new company— something that was both artistically challenging and could be produced in a fiscally responsible way. In January of 2015 a “launch party” was held. Dozens of friends and supporters of the arts were invited to get specifics of this new company, now officially called Lean Ensemble Theater and the “founders program” was introduced. This program was essentially a premium ticket offering which would help offset the costs of the first production, which would be the Tony-Award winning God of Carnage. $100 got people a ticket and offered a small contribution for the fledgling company. By the time God of Carnage opened to a full house on May 14, 2015, there were over 200 “founders” of Lean Ensemble Theater. God of Carnage attendance shattered expectations and was met with great enthusiasm by audiences as well as the local press. Following that success, LET announced a full season and a small board of directors was assembled so that the organization could start to catch up with the product. In its first year, LET obtained 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS, we saw audience growth with each production, offered free performances for students, created partnerships with other local organizations. The board of directors has doubled in size, the ensemble of artists now exceeds 15 and there is a small army of volunteers who believe in the LET mission. The goal of LET has evolved to producing 4-5 productions a season, as well as several independent events. However, the original goal stays the same— to have the conversation begin when the lights of the theatre first go down and continue long after you’ve arrived back home.

1- Announced and commenced a 2nd fully staffed professional MainStage season and increased individual ticket holders as well as season subscribers with each production.
2- Started an education wing which sends ensemble members as well as guest artists to local schools as well as the HHI branch of the Boys and Girls Club. We also performed a student matinee of THE GLASS MENAGERIE free of charge to local schools.
3- Founded a new work initiative, named Lean Lab, which will focus on the development of new work, including work from playwrights that has never been published.
4- Collaborated with other Lowcountry organizations, including Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Memory Matters and the Art League of Hilton Head. 
5- Applied for an received membership to local (Arts and Cultural Council of Hilton Head), state (South Carolina Theatre Association) and national (Theatre Communications Group) arts/theatre organizations.
1- In the current year we are focused on increasing LET's visibility and fiscal solvency so that we may further develop our education and new play development. 
2- In January/February, we are producing TRIBES by Nina Raine which deals with a young deaf man's journey through life. We have cast a deaf actor out of New York and are reaching out to not only the local hearing impaired community but to Savannah and Beaufort as well in the hopes of providing a theatre experience not readily available to them-- an American Sign Language interpreted performances of the play. We will also have a free student matinee of TRIBES for local schools.
3- In April we are holding a stage reading of the play LOVE LOSS AND WHAT I WORE to benefit Carolina Cups and Women in Philanthropy for Breast Cancer research. This reading will be directed by an ensemble member and feature 6 local female community leaders. 
1- The coast of the ASL translator for our production of TRIBES is $5000, and that is only for the rehearsal process. In order to have ASL translated performances, we must find an additional $2500 as there are two translators needed per performance.
2- Our directors of education and our new play development are currently working gratis as they maintain other employment (both are teachers). In order for these programs to reach their potential funds must be found to provide stipends for their work, otherwise these programs will prove unsustainable.
3- Working at the Hilton Head Prep Main Stage Theatre has been a blessing, but we currently can only afford to rent the facility for 5 days prior to opening. A $200 per rehearsal day, it's daunting to have the show "teched" for opening and impossible to increase the rental period.
4- the staff (the founder/artistic director and administrative coordinator) both work at part time wages, making it necessary for both to have 2nd jobs. Again, unsustainable. 
5- the staff lacks people in vital positions such as directors of development and production management, also impeding the company's ability to reach its full potential.
CEO/Executive Director Statement Lean Ensemble Theatre provides a section of performing arts which was missing from the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Passionate. We produce a wide range of work, from Tony or Pulitzer Prize winners straight from New York to our own spins on the classics from Shakespeare to Williams. Always thought-provoking, we celebrate the vibrancy of live performance by inviting audiences to lean forward and look at the world in a different way. Lean Ensemble will leave you talking and thinking about what you've seen and heard long after you've left the theater. Talkbacks, dramaturgical forums and other interactive events will offer the opportunity to exchange ideas and share comments and experiences with the ensemble and audience. This creates a dynamic that is not only missing from most theatre audience experiences, but also becoming more rare in our day to day activities. LET offers the chance for people to leave their devices in the car and come into the theatre for face to face interactions with other people. It is an opportunity for conversation driven theatre, where the hope is that the only distraction for an audience member will be the desire to continue the conversation with friends long after the show has ended. We ask for more from the audience. If your hope is to simply come to the theatre, buy a ticket, and witness a production, you will be missing out on the entire LET experience. The opportunity to do far more that see a show is at your disposal every time you are a part of the LET experience.
Board Chair Statement

Two years ago this theater company did not exist and today Lean Ensemble Theater is a thriving entity-- dedicated to bringing intimate thought provoking theater to the Low Country. By engaging every audience in a post performance discussion with cast, director and dramaturg, we offer a unique experience for the theater goer.

As a Volunteer Board, we strive to keep this theater fiscally viable, accessible to a wide audience and financially transparent. We take that responsibility seriously- making sure that we offer the best artistic product for the best economic value. We have gained the respect and support of the local government and press and continue to build a loyal audience base.

Our challenge remains to market our ensemble to local full time resident, part time resident, and visiting audiences. To meet that challenge, we will continue to collaborate with other organizations in the Low Country- notable the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and the Boys and Girls Club; continue to expand our Education division by working in the school and other local youth organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club as well as offering free student performances; and continue to increase our social media presence.

Areas of Service
Beaufort County
Jasper County
Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, 29926
Bluffton SC, 29909,
Okatie, SC 29910
Savannah, GA
Beaufort, SC 
Board Chair
Board Chair Myla Lerner
Company Affiliation Mylar Productions
Term Apr 2016 to Apr 2019
Email mlerner@leanensemble.org
Board of Directors
Mrs Judy Bluestone community volunteer
Ms. Mary Briggs Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
Mr Stephen Hasley community volunteer
Ms. Myla Lerner Mylar Productions
Mr Joe Maguire Wolverine Development
Mrs Carolyn Males community volunteer
Mr Michael Nairne Retired
Mr Bo Pearson Retired
Mr Blake White Lean Ensemble Theater
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 4
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 88%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 12%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
As a "working board" the board of directors is often tasked with the day to day administrative minutia , preventing many from the proper big picture thinking that is necessary from an organizations governing body. Things like the design of donor envelops often inadvertently take more time that the full picture of fundraising as a whole. We are meeting this challenging but taking a hard look at the staff structure of the organization to see how it can be expanded in a fiscally responsible way as well. We have also began an "Lean Ensemble Inner Circle" of volunteers who can assist in many of the day to day necessities of the company so that the Board can have a stronger and more appropriate role of the overall strategic plan of the company.
Executive Director
Executive Director/CEO Blake White
Experience Blake White, the Founding Artistoc & Executive Director has directed Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, The Glass Menagerie and God of Carnage and was onstage in The Waverly Gallery and The Underpants for Lean Ensemble Theater. Other directing credits include work at The Shuler Theater, Brown County Playhouse, South Carolina Repertory Company, and Main Street Youth Theatre. As an actor, Blake has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Shuler Theater, The Warehouse Theatre, Brown County Playhouse, South Carolina Repertory Company, Upstate Shakespeare Festival as well as New York City’s Invisible City Theatre Company, Caution: Artists at Work, Emerging Artists Theatre and Manhattan Comedy Collective. Blake has performed spoken word narration in concerts with the Hilton Head Choral Society and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, where he also serves on the Board of Directors. Blake served as the Associate Producer of South Carolina Repertory Company from 2007-2013. 
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 12
Contractors 40
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? No
Diversity Policy Under Development
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Chamber of Commerce2016

Lean Ensemble Theater is happy to announce an array of educational opportunities. The programs are focused on increasing access to the world of professional theatre for Lowcountry youth. These programs will include:

v In-School Workshops: Workshops are designed and taught by Lean Ensemble Members and Lean Ensemble's guest-artists.

v LET has connected with the Boys and Girls Club of the Lowcountry to begin a fruitful partnership. This fall Lean Ensemble will conduct two youth theatre workshops with the Boys and Girls Club.

v Production Internship: Every Lean Ensemble Production in the fall 2016/2017 season will utilize local youth in internship roles. These interns will gain hands-on experience in diverse array of theatrical disciplines both creative and technical.

This fall the Lean Ensemble education department will lay the groundwork for more workshops and educational opportunities coming in 2017. These will include more workshops for Lowcountry students and free student matinees.

Budget 7500
Short Term Success The short term achievement is simple. When we have completed workshops we are immediately asked when we can return. The improvement we must have is the administrative power is takes to fully contact and schedule all organizations/schools so that we can continue to "get out there." This is a problem for all new non-profits, and LET is not immune to that.
Long Term Success The goal of this program is simple. To make the excluded feel included. We hope to keep the programs at a low cost, or at best free of charge so that families of every tax level may participate. Part of LET's mission is fiscal responsibility-- to remain Lean. So we feel that that is also the best way to provide as much inclusive opportunity as possible.
Program Success Monitored BY In Lean Ensemble Theater's short existence we have just begun to collect the data necessary to fully gauge where we are succeeding and coming up short. In the near future, we have plans to remedy this by soliciting the student, families as well as our overall audience's opinion via in house and online surveys of what we're doing what they want from us. This information will be useful in not only planning a mainstage season, but also our other educational and new play development within the community.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2017
Projected Revenue $120,000.00
Projected Expenses $105,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Form 990s
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$900----
Administration Expense$13,208----
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses5.02----
Program Expense/Total Expenses6%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$56,770----
Current Assets$56,770----
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$53,770----
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%----
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration Exempt Nov 2017
Organization Comments Please note LET switched from 12-31 to 6-30 fiscal year end on January 1, 2016 resulting in a 6-month fiscal year ending 6-30-16.  We are currently in the fiscal year which commenced 7-1-16 and will end 6-30-17.
Nonprofit Lean Ensemble Theater
Address PO BOX 23214
HILTON HEAD, SC 299253214
Primary Phone (843) 715-6676
Contact Email info@leanensemble.org
CEO/Executive Director Blake White
Board Chair Myla Lerner
Board Chair Company Affiliation Mylar Productions
Year of Incorporation 2015