Magazine article American Theatre

Jeune Lune Charts a New Course

Magazine article American Theatre

Jeune Lune Charts a New Course

Article excerpt

MINNEAPOLIS: It's no secret (thanks in part to a Star Tribune article last November) that Theatre de la Jeune Lune faces a debt load creeping toward the $1-million mark. The deficit has prompted the company to cut its budget from $1.7 to $1.3 million in the last few years, and to reevaluate everything from its programming to its marketing efforts. Adding to the uncertainty was the departure in October '07 of the company's longtime producing director, Steve Richardson.

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The converted warehouse venue that the 30-year-old company acquired in 1992 has been its great asset, but has also enabled its financial snags to build up over time. Marketing director Scot Covey summarizes the problem: "In essence, Jeune Lune has been covering budgetary shortfalls by using our $3-million building as an endowment, borrowing against the equity in it. We have just reached a point where that accumulated debt had to be tackled head on."

How, exactly? Contrary to rumor, says Covey, administrative staff positions haven't and won't be eliminated; and the last-ditch option of selling the building is no longer on the table. Led by interim producing director Leah Cooper, the theatre is readying a strategic plan that will carry it through the next five years. One early manifestation is an "Always Building" campaign beseeching supporters to help raise $1.5 million. Longtime patron Fred E. Hahn kicked it off with an unprompted letter to the Star Tribune, stating he'd written a check for $2,500 and urging 399 other patrons to do the same. …

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