Huron Playhouse vows to continue without BGSU

The Huron Playhouse's budget will be on its own from now on. Bowling Green State University "is absolutely out of it," according to Huron Mayor Marilyn Shearer. The Friends of the Playhouse, a committee formed to explore ways to keep the 325 Ohio St. theater afloat, decided earlier this month to apply to the state as a nonprofit organization.
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Aug 22, 2010

The Huron Playhouse's budget will be on its own from now on.

Bowling Green State University "is absolutely out of it," according to Huron Mayor Marilyn Shearer.

The Friends of the Playhouse, a committee formed to explore ways to keep the 325 Ohio St. theater afloat, decided earlier this month to apply to the state as a nonprofit organization.

"We are not ready to abandon the Playhouse," Shearer said. "It is an important component to our community."

With BGSU pulling out as a financial supporter, the Playhouse's "drastically cut" budget will be about $120,000 short as the 2011 season gets underway, Shearer said.

As a non-profit organization, the Playhouse will be able to solicit donations to help fill the budget gap. Ticket sales from its summer performances will make up the rest of its budget, Shearer said.

John Bacon, the chairman of the Friends of the Playhouse committee, is working on the non-profit status, according to Jann Graham Glann, the director of the Playhouse.

"We're hoping to be back, but it will take major fundraising efforts and support in many ways," Graham Glann said.

Earlier this summer, the BGSU Board of Trustees approved continuing construction of the Wolfe Center for the Arts, which will be the university's home of the Department of Theatre and Film, according to the university's website.

The 93,000-square-foot facility is slated for completion sometime during the 2011-12 school year at an estimated cost of nearly $41 million.

The project has been in the works for about 10 years, said Ron Shields, chairman of the BGSU's Department of Theatre and Film.

"To say we're doing this rather than that, I feel is an inaccurate statement," Shields said.

The university decided to stop funding the Playhouse because of state cuts felt in its operating budget, Shields said.

"The Wolfe Center was funded by totally separate funds," Shields added.

"We don't have the funding to support them. ...That's the truth we've shared with everyone," said Valerie Whipple, an administrative staff member of the BGSU Department of Theatre and Film.

The university has touted its outreach theater program at the Playhouse for more than five decades.

While the main campus will no longer support the Playhouse, BGSU's Firelands campus in Huron Township will continue support through in-kind services such as technological support, Shearer said.

Throughout its existence, the Playhouse has hosted five full-scale productions during a seven-week season each summer.

That schedule may be trimmed down to four productions each season, depending on whether the Friends of the Playhouse can raise enough donations to support the full season, Shearer said.

Comments

T-B

Somewhere out there, a ferry just lost it's wings.

indolent indiff...

what a joke.    Don't morn the loss of culture with this story.  Celebrate that the university is tired of throwing money at a horrible establishment.

If they want to put on plays payfor it themselves.   Make each cast member throw in a couple hundred bucks and stop looking for someone to finance your nonsence.  Have you seen the kind of trash they produce?   Bravo BGSU 

Gardenman

Culture of this type may not be for everyone. People have varying tastes and places to spend their time and money. I have gone to the Huron Playhouse many times and have enjoyed the time there. Everyone involved in this works hard to produce a good play. My thought is if you don't like the venue than stay home but its really not appropriate to knock the hard work of those who have given much to see this succeed.

I am always amazed at the talent these college students bring to the stage. While few find their homes on Broadway the learning experience stays with them for a lifetime. I am sorry to see the Huron Playhouse leave the connectioni with BGSU as I think it does need a college credit connection but understand things do have to be done to save the theater. All institutions of higher learning are challenged economically as is everything else. I do have to wonder how BGSU can build new facilities on main campus at the rate they are and yet say we do not have money for this summer theater. I will have to give that serious thought when I get the phone calls from the university asking for more money from its alumni. When at BGSU last spring I was amazed at the constructioin going on for an institution that is so often having college students on financial aid calling me for gift to the university.

ArtsSupporter

"Indolent",  why don't you go back to be 'indifferent' about the subject.  Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about, or you're just choosing to be rude.  You denigrate the Playhouse yet you probably spent plenty of breath and time worrying about where certain multi-millionare ball chasers are going to chase the ball next year.  Just another reason why arts will never have a fair shake against athletes.  We shun the truly talented in our country in favor of the barely high school educated "athletes" that are being produced today.

And, by the way, the building projects at BGSU are funded by private donors, not by the university. 

Just Saying

Well said Gardenman.  Actors start somewhere.  Our culture spends billions of dollars on the entertainment industry.  And I can't imagine calling Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler or George Clooney a "ferry" (which by the way Mr. or Ms. T-B, is spelled F-A-I-R-Y not "ferry").