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Smithtown theater to stay open another year
The shows will go on at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts.
The struggling downtown theater has raised $25,000 in donations -- short of its $250,000 goal, but enough to keep the doors open next year, said managing and artistic director Ken Washington.
In June, Washington said the 10-year-old theater might close if it could not raise enough money by the end of the year. “We’ve raised enough that we are moving forward with our 2012-13 season. We plan on being here,” he said Thursday. “The crisis period appears to have passed.”
Donations were as large as $5,000 and as small as $10, he said, adding that the extra money would partially compensate for the loss of a $150,000 Suffolk County grant.
Despite losing the grant, the theater increased its budget this year to more than $900,000, hoping that bigger stage productions would result in increased ticket sales. But, said Washington, “We did not see the uptick in attendance that we thought this move would make.”
The theater hopes to raise an additional $5,000 to $10,000 on Aug. 25 with a fundraising show featuring stars of past productions such as “South Pacific,” “Carousel” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Washington said he anticipates saving up to $100,000 by not filling three vacant positions and trimming salaries, including his own. He said he is willing to raise additional funds by selling a share of the theater building, a former movie house that dates to 1933.
“I would love to see some partners in here because I think it would help to alleviate some of the stress in this place,” he said.