Is it panic time at the Southern?


The Southern Theater has failed to reach its $400,000 fundraising goal by its self-appointed deadline (as of yesterday afternoon the perfermance venue had raised just $95,000), but rather than take that as a sign of defeat, the organization is going to move ahead.

Rohan Preston writes in the Star Tribune:

Because it did not meet its goal right away — the deadline has now been extended and is unspecified — the theater on Wednesday cut five positions, including part-time curators for dance and theater. The Southern also reduced the hours of its remaining employees, so that four people will account for 2.5 full-time jobs.

He then went on to quote Board Chair Anne Baker as saying, “We’re still optimistic about preserving this wonderful community asset for future generations.”

Similarly, in Euan Kerr’s reporting of the layoffs, he writes:

Peterson sounded sad as a result of the layoffs, but he is an optimist, and he remains ever hopeful. He says just looking back over the last few days he sees a remarkable effort, and change in an organization he hopes to lead back to strength.

“We have made more progress in the last three weeks than in the last three years,” he said.

Optimism implies “we think everything is going to be okay” which seems a little passive. Maybe a better message would be “we’re in a panic?”

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