Actors Theatre pausing, not closing - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

Actors Theatre pausing, not closing

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:49 pm

The Actors Theatre is taking a break. It was announced last week that the remainder of the 2012-13 season has been suspended while the company redesigns and evaluates its business model.

This means the final two shows of the season, “Steady Rain” and “Good People,” are not going to be produced.

But they want you to know that this is just a break.

“They’re not closing they’re just taking a pause,” said Steve Carr, a spokesman for the Actors Theatre.

The company was hoping to finish the season, but was recently told that two grants they were hoping for would not happen.

This isn’t the first time the 27-year-old theater has faced financial hardships. In both 2004 and 2011, the company had troubles raising money and one time faced closure.

The theater has vacated its administration offices, costume shop, scene shop and production storage to help shrink its operational spending.

The Actors Theatre is ending its 20-year partnership with The Herberger Theater and is looking for new revenue streams and more control over its performance venue.

Producing artistic director Matthew Wiener and managing director Erica Black are leading the board-backed action.

“This is not an easy decision,” Carr said. “The board and management are fully behind it. There is a really strong positive feeling were this may lead into developing a new business.”

The company is looking for new performance spaces, but it does not necessarily need to be a theater.

“They’re certainly not going to build a theater from the ground up,” Carr said. “They may explore buildings or other structure that may not necessarily be considered traditional performance spaces.”

The company is looking into reclaiming and reusing buildings to help revitalize neighborhoods, something that’s happening in cities across the country.

Though the season is suspended, the Actors Theatre is still hosting its annual fundraising event, Gourmetheatre on April 7, which is the company’s main fundraising effort.

Actors Theatre is expecting to be back producing plays as early as the fall.

“They are staying every positive and very excited about what this may hold for the company,” Carr said.

Carr hopes people who bought tickets to the final two shows would consider the money as a donation to the theater, but those who do want a refund should check the website for updates.

For more information on Actors Theatre and when it will produce more shows, visit atphx.org.

• Brittany Stehmer is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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