WEST BANK – In late April, The Southern Theater announced an ambitious fundraising drive. In order to rectify monetary problems that had plagued the Theater for years, the board attempted to raise $400,000 by April 30. It did not quite meet that goal, but the influx of cash was strong enough that The Southern was able to survive, albeit with major changes.
“For at least seven years, the theater has shouldered too much of the financial risk of presenting and producing performances of dance, music, theater, and film, and has not effectively made the case to enough individuals, foundations, and corporations that donations, sponsorships, and underwriting will produce sufficient added value to merit full support,” aid Anne Baker, chair of the board of directors in a statement. “This plan allows us to stabilize and to focus on the chronic issue of negative cash flows caused by organizational, strategic, managerial, and operational problems."
The Southern’s survival plan includes a steep reduction in annual expenses, adding underwritten programming when possible and reducing the full-time staff down to a single position. Damon Runnals has been named to the position of general manager, while all other positions have been eliminated. While his full-time position was also cut, former executive director Gary Peterson has been named to The Southern Theater’s board of directors.