CMU School of Drama

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Seattle Opera cuts six full-time jobs, closes Renton scene shop

The Seattle Times: In an effort to stabilize its fiscal health, Seattle Opera has eliminated six full-time staff positions and decided to close its scene shop in Renton, which has also built sets for the opera as well as other theater companies, including the 5th Avenue Theatre and Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.


Julian Goldman said...

I think it is easy to forget how, for lack of a better word, unstable regional theatre is. No matter how well established, most regional theatre companies are still reliant on donations in order to keep running, the cost of tickets don’t pay for the show (nor would I want them to, they’d become too expensive to be accessible). I hope that closing the scene shop allows them to stabilize the budget, and I also hope that someone takes over the scene shop and manages to get it running and a profitable scene shop in its own right. I do find it a bit ironic that the first jobs to go were those in the fundraising and marketing department, since it seems like Seattle Opera needed the fundraising and marketing departments to do well then more than ever, but I suppose that seemed like the best option to keep the company as a whole going.

Marisa Rinchiuso said...

It is incredibly heart-breaking to see a long lived theatre company have to make drastic cuts like so. It is sad, but true that with the invention of technology more people are choosing quick, at home entertainment over a night out in the theatre. Because of that, there is less money income which means higher ticket prices which just makes the situation worse. Although I would consider $22.5 million quite a large budget for the year, it is easy to forget how fast that can go when producing a year long calendar of regional sized opera. It's a very sticky situation because lowering budgets can sometimes lead to less quality work which will also discourage theatre-goers. In addition, with the elimination of their shop, they are going to have to rent and bring everything in which is a new huge expense. Houston is going through a similar decrease in income in opera, theatre and ballet. Even so, the ballet purchased a huge $5 million set for their yearly nutcracker show. That install and shipments went extremely over-budget but was a staple of Houston arts. It is sad to see the money for these organizations disappear and have to take drastic measures to stay afloat. I guess the good thing to keep in mind is that the opera is still able to continue operating.