Last month, this blog reported that Theatre in the Square, the acclaimed Marietta playhouse, was in dire financial straits and in danger of closing its doors. Alas, that grim prospect has become a reality: On March 19, a press release confirmed that the company was shuttering effective immediately, halting its current run of Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West.
“The Theatre in the Square Board of Directors has announced that it will suspend all theatre performances effective Monday March 19, 2012,” the statement reads. “Board Chair Mike Russell stated, ‘After three days of board deliberations and financial analysis, we have decided that it is not feasible for us to finish our current season or launch a 31st season. We simply do not have the money.’”
As we previously reported, the struggling theater announced last month that it needed to raise $60,000 by March 16, which Russell described as “our drop-dead date” during a special meeting of the Marietta City Council. That amount was only what the company needed “to keep our vendors from shutting us down,” Russell said. In addition, the theater owed $125,000 in back rent to its landlord, City Councilman Philip Goldstein, and was seeking to raise $400,000 by the end of June to pay down its debt.
“We just don’t see any indication that we will be able to bring in that amount of money, much less additional funds required to launch a new season,” Russell said in the statement. “We have begun staff layoffs and we have paid our current lease through March 31, 2012.”
Theatre in the Square raised $83,000 of that $400,000, according to the press release, and negotiated with Goldstein for a reduction of its rent. Last week, the City Council approved a $30,000 contribution to help the theater make it through the current season, which was scheduled to conclude with a run of Tuna Goes Vegas beginning April 25.
“Our Board of Directors was incredibly moved and grateful for the City Council’s unanimous vote to approve this funding,” the press release read. “However, we can’t accept the funding in good conscience knowing that we will still have to close our doors in a matter of days.”
Theatre in the Square is currently “investigating an opportunity with one or more area theatres for a ticket swap for our current ticket holders of the remaining season plays,” according to the release.