The Arkansas Repertory Theatre has raised enough money to resume operations and begin planning new productions for the first of the year, the board’s chairwoman-elect said Thursday.
The news came about three months after the theater at 601 Main St. in Little Rock suspended operations and canceled its remaining shows because of declining ticket sales and charitable contributions, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.
The professional theater has received more than $500,000 in donations from about 1,000 people in 30 states, chairwoman-elect Ruth Shepherd said.
Two organizations have also boosted the fundraising effort by offering to match donations. The Windgate Charitable Foundation of Siloam Springs will match up to $1 million, and the John & Robyn Horn Foundation will match up to $25,000.
Shepherd said the money that’s been raised will be used for daily expenses that will keep the theater running through Dec. 31. Employees are also being rehired to help plan for productions that will resume in 2019.
Details on the number and types of shows The Rep will produce will be released in mid-September, Shepherd said.
“We’re leading with the fiscal plan, so nothing is set in stone, but we’ve also heard a lot of things from people who care about the theater,” she said. “Making shows of the highest quality and with the best talent available is still intact. The quality is something we are determine to maintain. That’s what sets The Rep apart.”
The chairwoman added that patrons can continue to expect provocative and diverse productions that can be attended at an affordable price.
Although financial gifts have temporarily buoyed the struggling theater, it still has additional funds to raise toward a more sustainable budget, Shepherd said. For example, the “Next Act” fundraising campaign seeks to raise $2 million to be used for emergencies.
“That will keep us on firm ground,” she said. “That will put money aside in case the air conditioning breaks or the big musical flops. We won’t be in desperate straits. Because of the outpouring of support, we feel that’s very doable.”
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.