Theatre in the Square, an Atlanta theater mainstay currently entering the home stretch of its 30th season, may not last to observe a 31st. The Marietta playhouse, whose managing director Raye Varney recently resigned in an effort to stave off financial hardship, has announced that it needs to raise $60,000 by March 16. The theater’s full board will meet on that date to assess its situation, and decide whether to close its doors for good if that goal isn’t met.
Board chairman Mike Russell made the announcement during a special meeting of the Marietta City Council called by Mayor Steve Tumlin to address the problems faced by various downtown cultural groups. The theater owes $125,000 in back rent, and “is struggling to operate on a day-to-day basis,” Russell told the meeting.
Even if the $60,000 goal is met, the theater isn’t out of the woods. It must also raise an additional $400,000 by the end of its fiscal year, which wraps up in June.
This isn’t Theatre in the Square’s first brush with financial disaster, nor its first emergency fund drive. It was one of three Atlanta-area companies to reach out to the community for support last year, along with Actor’s Express and Georgia Shakespeare. Theatre in the Square’s campaign came on the heels of belt-tightening measures including layoffs, cutbacks and pay cuts.
The company is currently preparing its next production, Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West, which opens March 7. The 2011-2012 season is scheduled to end with Tuna Goes Vegas beginning April 25.