Home Made Theater Cuts Paid Staff Amid Budget Concerns

Saratoga Springs' Community Theater Transitions to All-Volunteer Model to Avert Closure

By: Jun. 26, 2024
Home Made Theater Cuts Paid Staff Amid Budget Concerns
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The Times Union reports that Home Made Theater, on the verge of its 40th anniversary season, has announced the elimination of its paid staff due to budget constraints. The Saratoga Springs-based theater company faced the difficult choice between transitioning to an all-volunteer model or dissolving altogether.

"The alternative of closing our doors was just not acceptable to all of us who have been participants in the life of Home Made Theater," said Rick Wissler, the board president. The board unanimously voted to release its four employees, including three full-time and one part-time staff member, effective June 30.

Eric Rudy, the former executive and artistic director, supported the decision, recognizing the necessity of drastic budget cuts. "Any support that the public can offer would be greatly appreciated. This just came down to budget concerns because numbers just have not been what they need to be both in terms of ticket sales and fundraising. There was nothing left to cut in the budget," Rudy explained.

Cutting staff is expected to reduce monthly expenses from around $18,000 to between $2,500 and $3,000. Remaining overhead costs include $1,500 for storage and rehearsal space rental at Wilton Mall. The theater continues to seek a permanent home after leaving Spa Little Theater during the pandemic due to rising costs and repair needs.

"We’re looking forward to working with the city towards possibly a site for a permanent home," Wissler said. "We really need to generate income to keep going now."

Erin Harrington, the full-time business manager who increased fundraising by 168% in her first five years, reflected on the financial struggles. "It’s a tough time for the arts, especially theater," she said. "If anyone is hearing this news and wondering what to do to help, make a donation of any amount you can to the arts organizations that mean a lot to you because everyone needs that support right now."

The theater company is urging public support through donations, ticket purchases for upcoming events, and volunteer efforts. "For folks who have been involved in Home Made Theater, and anyone who has attended a performance of Home Made Theater knows full well how it has enriched their lives," Wissler emphasized. "We realize that we are an integral part of the community and that we contribute to the quality of life that we all enjoy, and we want to make sure that goes on."

For information on how to make a donation, click here.

Photo: Courtesy Home Made Theatre


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