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Bay Street Theatre may need to move

The 2012 summer season may be Bay Street Theatre's last in Sag Harbor.

Although Bay Street management said at a community meeting Thursday night that it is the nonprofit company's goal to remain in Sag Harbor, all options for keeping the theater on the East End are on the table, including moving to Southampton.

Bay Street's current location, where it has operated for 20 years, is at the entrance to Long Wharf, at Main and Bay streets. The company's lease expires in May 2013.

Artistic director Murphy Davis and executive director Tracy Mitchell said that under current terms with building owner Pat Malloy, the cost of the theater, plus cast house rentals and storage in Riverhead, will be $500,000 by 2013.

"This amount needs to be raised each year just for space and housing," Mitchell said. "This hurts our fundraising efforts and qualifications to receive many of the grants we apply for by not having a permanent home."

Among the options for staying in Sag Harbor are a vacant lot owned by National Grid now rented by the village, shared space with Pierson High School, a property on Jermain Avenue and the Sag Harbor movie theater.

Outside of Sag Harbor, possible locations include the new Parrish Art Museum space in Water Mill and a Westhampton office park in development by Rechler Equity Partners. But Davis said the most feasible option for now is the Jobs Lane building still occupied by the Parrish, which will be vacant by the end of the year. Southampton Mayor Mark Epley favors bringing Bay Street to that location.

"We're hoping they can be the anchor tenant within the building," he said Friday, adding: "It's a win-win for the village and the theater."

Bay Street is one of only three theater companies on Long Island that operates with an Actors Equity contract, hiring union actors and crew. The others are Gateway Playhouse in Bellport and the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport -- the only one of the three producing Equity shows year-round. Bay Street produces three major shows from May to September each year.

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