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Suzi Regan in "Good People" at Performance Network Theatre in 2013. (Photo by Sean Carter)

Performance Network Theatre to Close Its Doors at Month’s End

Despite efforts to overcome financial hardship, the Michigan company will shut down after 34 years of entertaining local audiences.

ANN ARBOR, MICH.: Performance Network Theatre has announced that it will shutter at the end of this year.

“It became apparent that we needed an angel donor with substantial and sustained support over a period of years to overcome past debt and prior poor management,” interim board president Heather Bell told Michigan Live. “Sadly, no such donor emerged.”

In May 2014, the  theatre’s debts amounted to more than $250,000, causing the board to dismiss the staff and suspend operations. A new management team, comprised of executive director John Manfredi and artistic director Suzi Regan, was brought on to relaunch the theatre when the debts amounted to $450,000.

The new management team was able to eliminate $200,000 of past debt by cutting operational costs and negotiating payment plans. But despite fundraising events and other efforts, the company’s subscriptions, ticket sales, and donor base continued to decrease.

In October 2015, the theatre issued a call to action to the community, stating that a minimum of $50,000 was needed in order to stay open. When that goal was not met, the board decided to close the theatre.

Despite the financial troubles, the company’s reputation for high-quality productions has remained intact. At the Wilde Awards, an annual ceremony honoring excellence in theatre in Michigan, PNT has been among the most-lauded theatre companies in the region since the awards were founded in 2002.

John Manfredi in "An Illiad" at Performance Network Theatre in 2013. (Photo by Sean Carter)
John Manfredi in “An Iliad” at Performance Network Theatre in 2013. (Photo by Sean Carter)

“We’re most disappointed for our subscribers, and the folks who donated,” Manfredi told Michigan Live. “Those are the ones who will feel the hurt the most. They miss some good theatre.”

The theatre finished out this weekend with its final production of Dickens: An A Capella Carol. Patrons who have purchased tickets for the 2015–16 season will be able to write off ticket prices as a tax-deductible donation.

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