Southern Theater announces new business plan, eliminates Executive Director

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The Southern Theater

The Southern Theater has announced it’s making some changes, although the details of those changes remain vague at this time.

My colleague Chris Roberts is pursuing the details this afternoon, and we’ll update accordingly, but in the meantime, here’s what we know:

For now, the Southern Theater has been reduced to a staff of one. The Board of Directors has named 32-year old Damon Runnals as General Manager. Up until now Runnals has served as the theater’s production and operations manager since 2008.

The position of Executive Director, held by Gary Peterson, is being eliminated as of June 10. Peterson has been elected to the Southern’s Board of Directors. His position is the ninth position to be eliminated in recent weeks.

The Southern’s budget for the next year totals $165,600. This is a marked decrease of its past budget totalling approximatley $1.1 million.

According to Anne Baker, chair of the board of directors, “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.”

“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,” said Baker.

In a release the Southern said it’s new plan involves “keeping it simple by establishing a reliable platform of earned income.” Just how that will look wasn’t immediately clear.

More as we know it…

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