The Guthrie Theater, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary season in Minneapolis, Minn., ended its 2011-12 fiscal year in August with a small surplus, the theater reported at its annual meeting Dec. 17.
The theater ended the year with a surplus of $67,395 on an operating budget of $28.9 million. That’s a relatively small number but it’s still about six times larger than last year’s budget surplus, according to TwinCities.com. And at a time when arts organizations across the country struggle for funding, it’s good news when one can show stability or even minor growth.
With over 425,000 tickets sold and nearly 21,000 subscribers, total attendance and subscriptions were also up slightly over last year. But shows played to an average of 73 percent theater capacity, down from 75 percent the previous year (which had fewer total performances). The theater’s endowment remained unchanged at $42 million.
The musical “Roman Holiday” and a revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” were the Guthrie’s biggest box office hits in a 2011-12 season that also included “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Burial at Thebes,” “The Sunshine Boys,” “Hay Fever,” and “End of the Rainbow,” which went on to earn three Tony Award nominations after moving from Minneapolis to Broadway last spring.
The theater ended its fiscal year in the black for the third time in a row, which Guthrie Director Joe Dowling said is not a fluke. He said he refuses to run a deficit at the theater.
“In 17 years, we’ve had one, and that was for the 2008-2009 fiscal year when the bottom fell out of the economy," said Dowling, according to Minnesota’s StarTribune. “It’s our solemn duty to remain fiscally sound while also finding work that’s challenging and interesting enough to keep people coming to the Guthrie.”