Seattle's Intiman Theatre Shuts Down to "Pause, Plan and Prepare" for Future

News   Seattle's Intiman Theatre Shuts Down to "Pause, Plan and Prepare" for Future
 
Despite $450,000 in recent donations, the financially beleaguered Intiman Theatre in Seattle is shutting its doors in an effort to be prudent and plan for the future, according to a statement from the board.

The resident theatre went dark April 17 following the run of its revival of All My Sons. The rest of the 2011 season has been cancelled.

"As many of you know, the past several months have been extremely challenging for Intiman Theatre," according to a statement from the board. "While we recently announced that the initial Impact Intiman campaign benchmark was met and that we were launching our strategic planning phase of the campaign, the reality of our financial situation has made it necessary to reevaluate the potential for the current season.

"As much as we had hoped to conduct a strategic plan while operating, it is evident that we need to close the 2011 season following the final performance of All My Sons on April 17. With our current income limitations there's no alternative.

"Our primary intent has and continues to be to preserve the future of Intiman — and our hope was to save the season, too. Simultaneous efforts to accomplish both are simply unattainable. While we are driven by that 'show-must-go-on' kind of determination, we must ensure that shows go on the Intiman stage for years and that can only happen if we pause, plan, and prepare for strong seasons in 2012 and beyond.

"By canceling the current season, we preserve and protect the ability to serve the community in 2012, when the board intends to reopen the theatre and continue Intiman's history of presenting this community with engaging art. We are still working through details of how this impacts our constituents and will have more information available in the next week. All ticket holders will receive information in the coming days. "We are in the process of figuring out what will be needed for long-term viability. We will continue to communicate with our community in this process. We appreciate the patrons who have supported us during this time and we look forward to seeing you all again when the theatre returns."

The resident theatre company — under the artistic direction of Kate Whoriskey, who inherited the financial crisis — went public with its $1 million financial crisis in February.  It was revealed that the Intiman would need to raise $500,000 by the end of March, in addition to $250,000 by June and another quarter of a million by September in order to continue operations.

Within six days of the announcement, the Intiman had raised $150,000 from public donations in addition to a promised $100,000 challenge grant. The organization had raised $450,000 towards its first $500,000 benchmark. Board member Kim Anderson characterized the outpouring of financial support as "a clear signal that encourages us to keep moving forward."

The fundraising goal also allows the Intiman to transition from what they describe as "immediate financial repair to longer-range strategic planning," and allows former director of development Melaine Bennett to move on from her current role of acting managing director as of April 8. (She assumed the role following the departure of former managing director Brian Colburn.) Former A Contemporary Theatre managing director Susan Trapnell, of the arts consulting firm Arts Consulting Group, Inc., is the theatre's management consultant. She helped A Conemporary Theatre get out a past financial bind, according to the New York Times.

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Kate Whoriskey succeeded Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza) as artistic director of the Intiman last March. Sher departed his position to become the resident director of Lincoln Center Theater.

The Intiman staged the world premieres of The Kentucky Cycle and The Light in the Piazza. It was also the first regional company to stage Tony Kushner's two-part epic Angels in America, after its Broadway debut.

Visit Intiman.org.

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