The Colony Theatre is announcing an emergency “Save the Colony” campaign so that it can remain open after an illustrious 37-year history of continuous production. The award-winning theatre, founded in 1975, must raise $49,000 in just under two weeks and $500,000, including pledges, by year’s end in order to meet financial obligations and remain open to the Los Angeles theatre-going public. Artistic Director Barbara Beckley cites the economic downturn that began in 2008 as the cause of reductions in charitable support and audience size, resulting in a budget shortfall that has recently become crippling. The Colony needs immediate support from L.A.’s arts-loving community to complete this year’s season and continue operations going forward.
“We are very proud of the tremendous popular and artistic success the Colony has achieved, but we have simply run out of money,” said Beckley, who was one of the theatre’s founders. “The economy has been particularly hard on institutions such as ours, with far too many of America’s stages having already gone dark. Now that our dire financial situation has become public, we are hopeful that the theatre-loving public will step forward in a meaningful way to keep our theatre alive.” She adds “We have already notified our subscribers, as they are our most loyal audience, and we wanted them to know first.”
“Like all non-profit theatres, we cannot subsist solely on subscriptions and ticket sales,” added The Colony’s Executive Director, Trent Steelman. “We have made all the operational cuts we can without harming the quality of our shows. Now we are at the point that, if we are unable to raise the necessary funds, we will be forced to suspend operations indefinitely. This announcement is something we never wanted to do, but we hope it will now prove to be an opportunity to turn things around so that the Colony can be put on sound footing for the long term.”
Steelman added “Barbara and I have both forgone our salaries for many months, wiped out our personal savings, and maxed our personal credit cards in an effort to keep us alive. It’s only now that we are asking the public to come to our aid.”
The Colony’s next scheduled show is The Morini Strad by Willy Holtzman, which is due to open November 17. The Colony has secured renowned television and film actress Mariette Hartley to star in this West Coast Premiere that explores fundamental themes of art, fame, and legacy.
The Colony has long been a vibrant center of L.A.’s theatre life. Its subscribers renew at an astounding rate of 90%, and this year the theatre received nine Ovation Award nominations, including the coveted one for Best Season.
The Colony Theatre Company began as a 99-seat Equity-waiver theatre in Silver Lake. Over the years the company was so successful artistically, and built such a large subscriber base, that in 2000 it was able to move into a 270-seat state-of-the-art theatre created for it by the City of Burbank. As such, it became one of only a handful of mid-sized professional theatres in the L.A. area that produce a year-round season of plays and musicals, and that employ actors under contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Its current season features two Los Angeles premieres, three West Coast premieres, and a World Premiere musical.
For more information about the “Save the Colony Theatre” campaign, contact Trent Steelman at 818-558-7000 extension 12 or at trentsteelman@colonytheatre.