A regional theater company in Alaska has furloughed its employees after officials say it faced several years of financial problems

Share story

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A regional theater company in Alaska has furloughed its employees after experiencing multiple years of financial problems, officials said.

The management of Perseverance Theatre asked workers to reduce hours at the beginning of this month after cancelling its most recent production, the Juneau Empire reported last week.

The Douglas Island-based theater suddenly canceled showings of “Snow Child” scheduled for Anchorage in late May.

The theater company incurred six-figure debt in 2015 and 2016 with the second budget shortfall hitting the theater hard, said Art Rotch, the theater’s executive director.

“The first one we had reserves for, the second one is a little harder,” Rotch said. “We’ve been working on ways to capitalize and finance that loss, and we’re still doing that. So that’s ultimately the root cause of our challenges, tight cash flow due to losses going back a couple years, which we’re still working on capitalizing.”

Rotch declined to say how many employees have been furloughed or the size of the debt. Perseverance Board President Joe Bedard could not immediately be reached for comment.

When asked if the nonprofit theater will be forced to close, Rotch said he does not know without more information about the extent of the debt.

“To some extent, there’s always a chance that an arts organization that’s nonprofit can end, so we can’t ever take these things for granted,” Rotch said. “But to really give you a sense of what is the chance, the percentage chance, I’m not sure right now.”

The theater had expected $170,000 in revenue from the production canceled last month. Washington, D.C.-based Arena Stage had partnered with the Alaska theater company to bring “Snow Child” to the state. The musical is based on Alaska author Eowyn Ivey’s 2011 novel.

The “short answer” for the cancellation is that the company did not have enough money to put the show on, Rotch said.

Perseverance Theatre expanded to Anchorage in 2014.

___

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com