Stamford Theatre Works Closes After Two Decades

News   Stamford Theatre Works Closes After Two Decades Stamford Theatre Works, the Connecticut-based, non-profit equity theatre company, has announced that it will shutter in the midst of its 21st season.

Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat, which ended its run Oct. 5, will have been the final production of the 20-year-old theatre company. John Cariani's comedy Almost Maine had been scheduled to begin performances Nov. 5.

STW founder and producing director Steve Karp said in a statement, "Over the last five years, our ability to raise money could not keep pace with our increasing operating expenses, and we found ourselves with an overwhelming accumulating deficit that has left us without sufficient resources to produce the currently scheduled production of Almost, Maine or a realistic projection of how we can produce the rest of the season."

The Stamford company points to severe reductions in corporate and private sponsorship as a major factor in the decision to dissolve the company. While STW cites positive press and 1,300 annual subscribers (90 percent of whom renew annually), the company said that ticket sales account for only half of the Stamford Theatre Works' annual budget.

The 2008-2009 season at Stamford Theatre Works was to include John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, Tom Dudzick's comedy Greetings and Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite.

Stamford Theatre Works had also intended to present the 2008-2009 season at its new home, the Stamford Center for the Arts. However, the Stamford Center filed for bankruptcy in August, scuttling plans for the move and ultimately leaving the Stamford Center for the Arts, and the theatre designed specifically for Stamford Theatre Works, unfinished. Founded in 1988 by Karp, Stamford Theatre Works offered nearly 100 professional productions during its two decades in operation. Stamford Theatre Works received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle for outstanding work, including "Outstanding Contribution to Connecticut Theatre" in 1997.

"If there is any hope at this time for a professional theater of STW's caliber to continue, it resides in some community entity or combination of concerned individuals who believe that such a theater organization should exist," Karp added. "Though I will not lead this producing effort myself, I would be eager and interested, should I be asked, to preside over the artistic programming of such a financially viable enterprise."

For further information, visit StamfordTheatreWorks.