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Kimberley Summer Theatre forced to cancel 2014 season

CAROLYN GRANT

The Board of Directors of Kimberley Summer Theatre regrets to say that they will not be producing any shows this coming season, but the Society is not disbanding, says board member Roxanne Harper.

Harper says it's unfortunate for all concerned but the Board feels it must deal with the large deficit from the 2013 season before any future plans are made.

Mounting a production is hugely expensive, and in normal circumstances Summer Theatre Society members apply for grants and fundraise all year in order to finance the next summer's season.  Now, the Society finds itself in the position of having to fundraise to pay debt.

"In short, we have no money with which to finance a season, and in fact we find ourselves still carrying a large deficit from last year's productions," Harper said.

"When we became aware of the seriousness of the financial situation at the end of last summer's season, we were shocked to say the least. There are a number of reasons why this situation came about, and lots of blame to go around, but the Board is,  of course, ultimately responsible."

Harper says that in an effort to reduce the debt, four concert type shows were offered in the fall, Classical Enchantment, The Way We Were, Unforgettable and Prelude to a Kiss.

"These shows were very well received by those who attended but we were very disappointed to find that revenues could not possibly justify the continuation of the series."

At the Annual General Meeting in January, the 15 members who attended agreed that dealing with the deficit was of primary importance and no shows should be produced until all debt was paid. The exception was Prelude to a Kiss, as plans for that show were too far along to be cancelled.

On March 14, the one-year contract with producer Tony James was completed and he returned to Victoria. "His expertise and experience are appreciated by the board of KSTS and by the community," Harper said.

The KSTS office has been moved to the Mark Creek Mall building and monthly meetings will still be held.

"We now find ourselves to be a fundraising organization, at least for the foreseeable future," Harper said.

"Thanks to our members, friends, supporters, donors, anonymous donors and our families we have made some real progress in reducing the debt. The recent spaghetti dinner was a huge success and again we thank all those who came out. Plans are in place for the sale of chicken and beef meat pies which will be available in late April, the raffle of a garden glider and barbecue, and of course our annual garage sale."

The board would welcome any ideas for fundraisers, and certainly any assistance anyone could offer. Although the three remaining Board members are considered by the Society Act to be responsible for the debt, any new persons willing to join are not.  Please call 250-427-4561 for more  information.

Harper emphasizes that Summer Theatre is not done — this isn't the first time a season has been cancelled, and another season may follow in the future. But right now the priority is debt reduction.

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