Following Closure Due to Government Shutdown, Ford's Theatre Reopens With Donation from Trustee

By Carey Purcell
October 16, 2013

Ford's Theatre, which has been closed since Oct. 1 due to the government shutdown, reopens Oct. 16, following a private donation of $25,000. 



The donation comes from trustee Ronald O. Perelman. 

"The agreement to reopen the site, which has been closed since Oct. 1, developed over the Columbus Day weekend in conversations between [Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford's Theatre Society] and the National Park Service (NPS)," press notes state. "After several states agreed to provide funding to reopen parks in their jurisdictions, Tetreault and NPS began exploring how a similar agreement might work for FOTH. In the spirit of continued cooperation between the Society and the National Park Service, the Society agreed to find funding to pay for park operations normally funded by NPS in four-day increments. The $25,000 gift will enable the Society to reopen the site for the next eight days."

Ford's Theatre Society was told that they could not perform in Ford's Theatre during the government shutdown, despite its status as a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that does not use any federal funding or federal employees for their programming.

"For 45 years, Ford's Theatre Society has been honored to operate Ford's Theatre in a public- private partnership with the National Park Service," Tetreault said in a statement. "For the last 15 days, both NPS and the Society have been exploring ways to reopen this important historic site to the public. Thanks to the generosity of Ronald O. Perelman, we have found a way to pay NPS's expenses for the next eight days. We look forward to welcoming our patrons back to The Laramie Project as well as our daytime programming. While we are pleased that we have found a short-term solution, we sincerely hope that the shutdown ends soon, as private dollars cannot replace the government's role at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site in the long term."

Performances of The Laramie Project, which continue through Oct. 27, resume Oct. 16 at 7:30 PM. Tickets for the rest of the run are $25.

The site opened for daytime visits Oct. 16 at 9:30 AM.

During the shutdown, performances of The Laramie Project were held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, and a candlelight vigil was held Oct. 11 in honor of the legacy of Matthew Shepard and National Coming Out Day.

"Though the shutdown has been painful, we have been amazed by the generosity of Rev. Sidney Fowler and the members of First Congregational, who have opened their beautiful space to us for more than a week of performances," Tetreault said in a statement. "We were honored to be in their space, and we look forward to future collaborations with our neighbors."

More information about Ford's Theatre can be found by visiting fords.org.