Southern Theater offered a lifeline

  • Article by: ROHAN PRESTON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2011 - 8:57 PM

The Minneapolis performing arts venue will remain open and hopes to cash in on a $50,000 matching grant.

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DufferHMay. 4, 11 6:20 PM

In all these stories about the theater being up to its ears in more than $400,000 in red ink, no one has ever explained how this could possibly be a viable operation. The theater is tiny and has a sizable staff. How could a 210-seat venue pay the bills? These donors are just throwing good money after bad.

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nordeasterMay. 4, 11 7:30 PM

Who's the fool who donated six thousand dollars? Why not give the money to a small theater that actually cares about its artists?

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kkjerMay. 4, 11 8:30 PM

I think there needs to be a criminal investigation here. 300 grand doesn't just disappear.

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artsywendyMay. 4, 11 9:26 PM

The Southern is all about the artists- just talk to those who do and have performed there. It is that mission, to get all types of work on stage, that got this organization into financial turmoil. Many of the types of artists that the Southern has embraced, have executed their programming at a financial loss to the theater. There is a way to move forward for the theater. The new board is working diligently to make that happen for all of us in the Twin Cities.

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kegkdrMay. 4, 1111:42 PM

To artswendy and others, what got the organization into trouble was spending money it didn't earn or have. The McKnight Foundation have ever reason to demand return of its grant, which was for "artists" and not for general use by the Southern Theater. However, noteworthy it may be as a theater, the previous board and management had no right to mix foundation money in with its own earned funds. It is simply wrong, if not criminal. Also, the new members of the board should have blow the whistle on the whole mess as soon as they found out about the commingling of the foundation money and the theater's earned income. Sorry, too bad and all so sad. Shut it down.

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olszewskipMay. 5, 11 7:19 AM

I'm sorry for artists who lose the venue to perform and hone their skill. I wish there was a way to help them. I realize their performances do not bring money, but not everything in life that is worth financing is profitable (dollars spent on 4th of July fireworks, for example, are still worth it because they give the Independence Day extra character). On the other hand, strange financial practices at the Southern that lead to the loss of trust of grant giving entities make me feel that there should be some consequences for this theater. I'm afraid though that whatever the consequences, they will be real only for the artists, not for the (mis)management (the money people will quickly find a job elsewhere).

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chablis28May. 5, 11 8:07 AM

How is it possible to squander a million dollars a year...... on this?????? And still be in the whole? Close it up and put somethere there that is sustainable.

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chablis28May. 5, 11 8:12 AM

It po's me that the theatre "community" gets to waste all of this money while Minnesota's other nationally known art form....rock bands...ala The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Gear Daddies, to name a few seem to fend 100% for themselves. No foundation or government agency dependency for these great rock bands or the dumpy venues like the Turf Club or even 1st Avenue. Why theatres get money is beyond me? Sell tickets or close!

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thebigal010May. 5, 11 9:41 PM

Why isn't the Arts legacy fund supporting non profit theaters, non profit literary small presses and MN arts organizations/ artists instead of giving $45,000 to some science fiction writer like Neal Gaiman?

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hoppipollaMay. 24, 11 3:45 PM

People who run the Southern get free money when times get tough while real artists have to cut it close to the throat everyday of their lives. Let the theater die and resurrect under new leadership that knows how to run one.

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