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Shakespeare Troupe Scrambles for Cash : Theater: After losing council support, company may be forced to pull out of Garden Grove. It needs $21,000 to produce holiday show.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Officials of the cash-poor Grove Shakespeare Festival said Wednesday that their financial woes make it uncertain whether the company will ever again produce plays in Garden Grove after the current production closes Nov. 3.

“At this point, there are too many variables” to comment about the prospect of future seasons, artistic director Thomas F. Bradac said Wednesday.

The theater company canceled Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” which was to have been its final 1990 production, after the Garden Grove City Council on Monday voted down any emergency funds for the county’s second-largest professional theater company.

The troupe needed $21,000 to produce the popular Christmas show, so theater executives decided to end the season early with “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which opens Oct. 4 and is scheduled to run through Nov. 3.

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The play’s cancellation could cost the theater troupe up to $120,000, including ticket refunds and lost deposits, officials said Monday.

“All I can tell you is that our volunteer guilds and our board are all out there beating bushes to find new sources of revenue,” Bradac said, noting that three fund-raisers are planned for October--a “walk-a-thon,” a “casino night” and a costume sale.

“Obviously, we still hope to turn (the situation) around. But we can’t go beyond the end of ‘Earnest’ and can’t plan for ‘A Child’s Christmas’ because of our debts,” Bradac said. “We’ve got to complete those (commitments) before we do anything about going on. We can’t take on new responsibilities without taking care of the ones we have now.”

Theater officials trace the current cash crisis to two major factors: a $42,000 deficit held over from last season and fewer subscriptions than projected this season. The 12-year-old nonprofit troupe operates the outdoor Festival Amphitheatre and the indoor Gem Theatre, both city-owned, under a contract with the city.

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Grove managing director Barbara Hammerman said Wednesday that for the troupe to reinstate its Christmas play, $21,000 would have to be raised by Nov. 1. If the money came in by then, “I’d be in a position to recommend to our trustees that we proceed with the production,” she said.

Hammerman said that trustees had not ruled out the possibility of moving the troupe out of Garden Grove, should its money troubles continue.

“The board has to consider all options available to it,” Hammerman said.


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