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February 21, 2003

Actors' Equity Association Makes Emergency Donation to A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle
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Responding to the theatre's mounting fiscal crisis, Actors' Equity Association will make an emergency donation to A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in Seattle. The donation was announced by Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, and Equity Western Regional Director John Holly.

"We were very distressed to hear about ACT Seattle's mounting financial crisis, and want to encourage the theatre-going public, as well as government, civic and corporate leaders to reach out and assist the theatre at this difficult time," said Eisenberg and Holly.

A Contemporary Theatre was founded in 1965 and is one of Seattle's most important not-for-profit cultural institutions. Along with Seattle Rep and the Intiman Theater, ACT Seattle helped create one of the nation's most vibrant theater scenes during the 1980's and 1990's, generating hundreds of jobs for local performing artists. ACT Seattle operates under an Equity LORT "B" contract.

Last Friday, ACT's Board of Trustees announced that the company was $1.7 million in debt and has been forced to let go of all but a handful of administrative staff. The theatre had long been solvent in its original location on Queen Anne before moving to the Eagles building downtown in 1996, which ACT renovated at a cost of $30 million. However, a weak economy, the downturn in philanthropic support and funding cuts have plagued not-for-profit theatres around the country. Seattle has been particularly vulnerable because of its hi-tech and computer-based economy.

On Thursday, ACT's Board of Directors pledged to personally donate $40,000 to keep the theatre open for another month. "This buys us some breathing time to really go out and try to put the bigger funding pieces together," said Board Co-President Sheena Aebig.

"Equity Members in the Seattle area are discussing a number of ways that they can help out," added Holly. "A theatre benefit is certainly a possibility."

"We will continue to explore ways that we can assist ACT Seattle to stay afloat," concluded Eisenberg and Holly. "It would be disastrous for the entire theatre community and the City of Seattle to lose ACT," they said.

Visit the ACT web site at http://www.acttheatre.org

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