The Nashville Children's Theater - the oldest such professional theater company in the country - is some $70,000 in the red this year.

It's the first and biggest loss in the company's 82-year history, and there is a big effort underway to get it back on financial track.

"Letting kids see worlds outside their own, ultimately, that's going to impact everything from bullying on the playground to how they deal with people in their professional life in the future," said Managing Director Kathryn Colegrove.

Nashville Children's Theater makes sure that poor children in Metro schools can see its shows for free, and each year, about 8,000 kids see the amazing performances for free.

Those free tickets, this year, have come at a high price.

"Ticket sales are really slow this year. We've been talking to our peers, and it's happening all across the city," Colegrove said. "We really needed to hit those ticket goals, and we're short."

NCT is asking its fans to donate to make up the $70,000 shortage and help keep the performances special.

"We have a long-range plan," said Producing Director Scot Copeland. "But, in the meantime, we have this short-term pinch this year that we need to take care of."

To contribute, visit the donation page at http://www.nashvillechildrenstheatre.org/.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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