Oh, these troubled times--especially for the arts community, always
the first to be cut loose in any kind of economic crunch. The latest arts
organization to fall apart is Actors Theatre, one of a handful of professional
theater companies here. The Herberger Theater Center resident, which
launched its 26th season last month, announced today that the company must
raise a whopping $70,000 by November 30, or it'll be shutting down.
If the second-largest theater company in the state is that much in the
hole, what does it mean for smaller, non-Equity troupes?
"The trickle down effect won't be good," Actors Theatre's artistic
director Matthew Wiener said yesterday. "If we close up shop, it will affect
every other theater company in town."
The seventy grand that Wiener and company need will allow the
theater to complete its run of Next Fall, the season's second production
which opens tonight. An additional $170,000 must be raised by December
31 to allow the company to continue its current season, and still another
$260,000 will be needed to keep the company afloat beyond this year.
"We're facing a crisis unlike any other in our history and our
challenge is urgent," Wiener says. "I know it's not a great time for us to be
asking the public to help us keep our doors open, but we're out of options."
The company began its season with $100,000 less in contributed
revenue than this time last year, mostly because both private and corporate
contributions--as well as grant moneys -- have essentially dried up.
Wiener, who hasn't collected a paycheck in three months, is working
with his board and employees to restructure Actors Theatre's business
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Meantime, the pressure's on to scrape together a huge pile of dough
in record time.
Here's hoping this company--one of the most versatile and interesting troupes in town -- makes its deadlines.