Culture News

Actors Theatre to Close in Phoenix

Early on Friday, December 19, Actors Theatre announced via press release that it will shutter after 29 years.

"The simple truth is we're out of money," Actors Theatre board president Renee Gerstman says in the release.

See also: Actors Theatre Returns with A Steady Rain, and It's a Good Thing

The professional company's board of directors voted to liquidate the theater and immediately stop productions, the next of which would've been Annapurna in January. Refunds won't be granted for tickets purchased for that show and all other upcoming Actors Theatre productions. "Though we would like to say we will refund those tickets, we simply can't," Gerstman says. "We're hoping that our patrons and supporters will consider taking the expense as a tax deduction after consultation with their accountants or CPAs."

"We recognized that what Actors Theatre does and, most importantly, the way we do it is not sustainable in our community at this time," says longtime artistic director Matthew Wiener in the release. "Among our strongest guiding principles is to pay everyone - and that includes artists and arts workers - a living wage. The economic dignity of our all of our artists and arts workers is one of our highest values, but our donor base and individual and season ticket sales were not substantial enough to provide the financial resources to support the cost structure of professional artists to the degree it needed to be."

Actors Theatre ran into major financial problems in 2012, leaving a residency at Herberger Theater Center and taking a hiatus to reevaluate its business plan. The company returned in fall of 2013 with A Steady Rain and then bounced between theaters for shows throughout its 2013-14 season. It then settled at Black Theatre Troupe's Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center for its 2014-15 season, which included Good People and a summer stock season.

"We are incredibly proud of Actors Theatre's legacy over nearly 30 years," Wiener says. "We know that many patrons left most of our productions affected by and talking about what they saw on stage. Perhaps we will again see those or similar productions and the high professional quality of what went on both on and behind the stage. In the meantime, and in spite our deep, deep sadness at this time, we do know that there are many great arts and cultural opportunities in the Valley. Perhaps we will be part of them again sometime in the future."

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski