Comedy club ImprovBoston suspends work, hoping for winter classes, full reopening in 2021
The ImprovBoston comedy club is on hold, with all full-time staff starting voluntary leave on Friday in hopes of a full reboot in January, administrators at the non-profit theater said on Monday.
“The decision was taken after much deliberation among the administrative team in consultation with the theater board, surrounding theaters and on the advice of health and business consultants” to keep artists, students , technical and front desk staff, music directors and security guests, according to an email.
“We, as the administration team, made the choice in March to continue working,” but at the end of May, posting shows and courses online while trying to raise money was exhaust financial resources theater, said chief executive Josh Garneau. Digital revenues weren’t enough.
“It seemed like the best choice was to sink,” Garneau said, staff leave allowing the association to continue paying rent. “The smart choice is to keep an eye out for reopening next year.”
The Central Square ImprovBoston Comedy Club has been in existence for 38 years using revenue from its weekly shows to cover the costs of its 40 Prospect Street theater, comedy school operations and other work. That changed on March 13, when the coronavirus shut down the club’s doors. But about $ 75,000 was needed per month for operating expenses, Garneau said. The government loan under the Paycheck Protection Program was due to expire on June 15 – extended later until Friday – and the club hoped that a 40 hour “Virtual ImprovBoston Marathon” this month would raise $ 114,000.
Theodora Skeadas, executive director of the small business organization Cambridge Local First, was disappointed but not surprised on Monday to learn of ImprovBoston’s decision.
“They are not the only ones in this position. I have spoken with many places of art, entertainment and theater similar to theirs and they are all in the same situation. They are often charged over $ 10,000 a month for rent, but can’t earn much at all [in revenue]”Skeadas said. Evolving the arts online is” harder to sell, and they certainly can’t have the same capacity. It’s hard to cover all of your costs “that way.
Fundraising delayed, then canceled
The ImprovBoston Marathon has been postponed last weekend since its initial start on June 5 when it comes to Black Lives Matter events happening locally and nationally. But these concerns still dominate the attention of many, and eventually the leaders simply decided not to run the marathon. “We felt it was inappropriate to publicize our cause [when it would] competition “with an issue staff cared so much about, Garneau said. Ultimately there will be fundraising and “we will do it in a meaningful and impactful way that will not hinder needed social change.”
The theater will remain focused on fundraising to prepare for the reopening, and in-person comedy classes could resume in early winter, if safe; more than 300 students were enrolled in improvisation, sketch and stand-up comedy classes in March, the association reported.
Mike Carr, artistic director of the theater, said the break also allowed him to reset the direction of the theater.
“Despite the sadness we all feel in making this decision,” said Carr, “we have the opportunity to reflect and make changes to our theater to ensure that it is a more inclusive space for all artists to be. the future. ImprovBoston has had a few turbulent periods in her past, and never had the chance to step back and heal. We see this as an opportunity to become a better theater. ”