Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Despite North Shore theater's closing and economic troubles all over, most local stages are managing to keep their doors open

(Good article, well executed, nice angle. However: It fails to mention the main difference between NSMT and community/summer theaters -- North Shore hires Equity actors at minimums in the $500-per-week range, whereas community theaters typically pay nothing or give a small stipend with no taxes witheld. It's easy to remain profitable if you charge comparable prices to professional theaters but don't pay your workers. And summer theaters don't incur weather-related costs such as winterizing a building, paying for heat, suffering losses during snow storms, etc.)

The shutdown at the North Shore Music Theatre in January was a dramatic twist, but local stage companies are still playing the first act of the economic downturn.

"We're going into this stage of, how are we going to be able to learn from this and how are we going to adapt to be able to survive?" said Sue Griffin, a member of the board of directors at Marblehead Little Theatre.
Everyone knew that nonprofits would face challenges, but many were still shocked when North Shore Music Theatre cut short its season in Beverly, laid off all but three employees, and began a drive to raise $500,000 by spring in hopes of restarting productions. The April 15 gala opening of the Nordstrom's at Northshore Mall will benefit NSMT, among other charities. But there's no decision on what will happen after April.