Skip to Content

Rochester Civic Theatre’s future now bleak, funding changes underway

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The troubled finances of the Rochester Civic Theatre went under the microscope again Wednesday morning.

The city's Oversight Committee met to talk through a draft proposal that could change how money would be awarded to all non-profits going forward.

Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik.

"This is a private organization that some board members ran into the ground," said council member Michael Wojcik.

"A rogue staff member can cause significant challenges for an organization without that oversight," added council member Nick Campion.

The Rochester Outside Agency Oversight Committee is made up of three council members, including Wojcik, Campion, and Shaun Palmer. Those council members want a new process for supporting community performing arts with taxpayer money.

Rochester City Council Member Nick Campion.

"We're doing our job to support laying out our expectations," Campion said.

What's in question, is how that will look. A few recommendations include having the city administrator initiate the transition to the new model.

Rochester Civic Theatre Board President Jeff Haynes said there is a lot of uncertainty.

"We don't know, based on what I'm hearing, whether or not we will be part of the season," Haynes said. "We've got a big amount of debt we have to service, we will need to generate the revenue to service that debt somehow so we'll have to figure out how we do that."

Rochester Civic Theatre Board President Jeff Haynes.

That could mean fewer shows this current season which ends in May. As for the upcoming seasons, Haynes said they don't know if the theatre will be able to survive.

"Until we figure out whether or not we can even survive through the year without knowing what our season's gonna look like, It's going to be kind of hard," Haynes stated.

As for the future, Haynes said the theatre has an obligation to the community. He is reaching out and trying to nurture the relationship as best as he can.

After the meeting wrapped, council member Palmer told me the theatre will receive $50,000 for the next three months for utilities and maintenance. However, it will not be receiving any additional funding from the city after that.

Council members hope to have a progress report by May 4th, on a collaboration update with the theater.

Ubah Ali

Skip to content