Shutdown ‘Devastating’ for Local Theatres

This news story was originally posted by Fox 21 on May 25, 2020 and was reported by Andrew Kirov.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted more than just businesses across the Northland. Non-profit organizations have also been hit hard.

Audiences can’t fill theatre seats. That means organizations like the Duluth Playhouse haven’t had their primary revenue source for the last two months.

“When we had projected $1.2 million in ticket sales, it’s apparent that’s about $600,000 in cash that we’re not going to have,” said Christine Gradl Seitz, Artistic and Executive Director of the Duluth Playhouse.

She tells us the shutdown has been ‘devastating’ to the theatre.

“We’re doing everything we can to stretch every dollar that we’ve got, but there comes a point in time where you’re like wow, we have to start bringing money into the organization,” she added.

It’s not just ticket sales. Non-profits rely on grants, advertising, and donations. Those are hard to come by with so many businesses shut down and people out of work.

“I have a deeper concern about how that impact will then fold over, when we can get back into business, will we be able to sell the number of tickets or are people scared?” asked Seitz.

The Playhouse usually employs 250 artists every year, plus an office staff.

The organization is now down to a skeleton crew as they work to provide some virtual programs like singalongs and online dance classes.

“For us, the nervousness of not knowing how long we will have to weather this is hard,” explained Seitz.


Read the full Fox 21 news story here.



If you’d like to support the Duluth Playhouse at this time, there are a few ways you can do so: