Cuts due to economic downturn, drop in income

Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn, is slashing its 2009-10 budget by 16% in response to the economic downturn and a drop in contributed income.

The theater will lay off 10% of its staff, cut production costs and reduce salaries by between 1% and 4.5%. The new budget will be cut by $1 million, going from the current season’s $6.2 million to $5.2 million.

Long Wharf’s new managing director Ray Cullom points out that the current fiscal year ends June 30 and contributions are still coming in. But contributed income has fallen dramatically, especially in the areas of corporate and foundation giving.

The number of individual gifts remains stable though the amounts have decreased, said artistic director Gordon Edelstein. However, he added that ticket sales are strong and subscription renewals are ahead of last season.

Long Wharf is coming off a strong season at the box office, with hits runs of Paula Vogel’s “A Civil War Christmas,” Athol Fugard’s “Coming Home,” Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie” starring Brian Dennehy, Theresa Rebeck’s “Bad Dates” and Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.” The latter production, staged by Edelstein and starring Judith Ivey, is rumored to have sparked interest in a New York transfer.

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