Historic Mpls. theater on verge of shutting down

9:47 PM, Apr 24, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A historic theater says it will close its doors if they don't raise enough money by the end of the month.

The Southern Theater in Minneapolis has reached a state of emergency. They say after years of deficits and borrowing money to finance those deficits, they need $400,000 by April 30th to stay open.

Executive Director Gary Peterson says between $80,000 and $90,000 is needed to pay off vendors alone. The rest would put resources in place to re-organize a sustainable business model.

"It is a lot of money, and it's not," Peterson said. "That's 800 people and $500 or 1,600 people and $250 dollars, and so on."

MPR reports the McKnight Foundation, a major funder, has asked The Southern Theater to return $300,000 which it had given to the theater. They believe the money was mismanaged.

The seats were just about filled Saturday night for the dance performance Scuba.

"People love performing here and love watching work here. It's physically and architecturally unique," Scuba artist Judith Howard said. 

Theater fan David O'Fallon visits often. He's concerned about the future here.

"The Southern needs to continue as a center of creation and support of independent artists," O'Fallon said.

The Southern Theater's annual fundraising gala is Saturday April 30th, coincidentally the same day they could close their final curtain. People can also make donations through The Southern Theater's website.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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