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
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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.