Curtain Could Close for Interplayers | Arts & Culture
Big things have been happening at the Interplayers Theatre in Downtown Spokane. In the last year and a half they have seen both physical and administrative remodels. However, it may not have been enough to keep the non-profit a float, and now Interplayers has until May 31st to raise $150,000 to keep the curtain from closing for good.
When Pamela Brown took over as Executive Director in the fall of 2011 she was greeted by an administrative nightmare. There were no books, and the records from 30 years of board meetings were in disarray. The theater was $80,000 in debt and the building was in desperate need of repair. Brown, along with Artistic Director, Reed McColm, went to work and the results are extraordinary.
In just a year and half Brown has managed to put the theater back in order and McColm has succeeded in increasing the quality of production taking the stage. They have cleared the $80,00 of debt and have once again put the theater into a position to receive grants. They sold the building to the Jerry and Patty Dicker Foundation. The new owners were able to repair the leaking roof, and Garco Construction donated materials and labor to rework the lobby and ticket office.
Now Brown says they are “creating reasons for people to come early and stay late” at the theater. They have added a bistro, serving beer, wine and light snacks so theater goers can make a night of it. They have created a community room that can rented for just $10.00 and they hope to use that room to play theater games with kids while their parents are watching shows. And this season each show has featured Community Nights that highlight local businesses and charities.
But all of this, along with the 2013-2014 season they announced last night, may not happen. Even though Interplayers has never lost money on a show, they haven't earned enough to cover the $20,000 a month in overhead. About 60 percent of their revenue comes from shows, but they have to earn the other 40 percent through donations or grants.
“We're tremendously grateful to our individuals,” says Brown, stating that they are above target for donations from individuals. But Brown was shocked to find that have no donations from local businesses. Why? She admits that they haven't been asking the local business community for support. Brown understands that it's a tough climate for business right now and that she's hoping that many businesses will lend small amounts of support rather than getting large donations from a few.
“A thriving theater community is essential to large cities,” says Brown, and that residents notice who is supporting the arts. This is why Interplayers has launched a new Producing Partners Program. It's a program that's not uncommon in the arts world. Depending on their donation the businesses receive different levels of advertising and vouchers for shows.
For now Interplayers says that the show must go on. Before announcing the funds deadline, McColm announced the next season's selection. Brown is scared but optimistic that they will raise the funds in time stating that grant proposals are in the process of being submitted.
“Great things have happened on our stage,” McColm said in his speech last night, “You make thrilling happen just by being here.”
For now Interplayers is selling season ticket packages for the next season, but due to possibility that it may not happen, they will not process the sales until June 1st. They are also hosting a dance and silent auction at the end of May. They are also working on an event with Great Spokane Incorporated.
The 2013-2014 will feature:
Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon
An autobiographical play about growing up post WWII America
Never the Sinner by John Logan
The scandal of murders Leopold and Loeb in the 1920s
Our Town by Thorton Wilder
Hailed as the greatest American play ever written, Reed McColm is adapting it to feature a cast of six
Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire
A new comedy set in South Boston that is a study of classes
Memoir Barrymore by William Luce
One man show about silent film star John Barrymore starring Patrick Tredway
Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott
Three con-men search a blind woman's home for heroin
Putting it Together by Steven Sondheim and Julia McKenzie
A musical review of Steven Sondheim
Midsummer Night Dream
To be done in collaboration with the EWU Shakespeare Intensive Class