Theater management

Dear Editor: May is here. The first anniversary of the last show from the Downey Civic Light Opera is upon us.

One of the worst business decisions ever made (outside of New Coke) was the city of Downey bringing in VenueTech to manage the civic theater in 2010. When this occurred a lot of good people (city crew) were handed pink slips and told to work elsewhere. It wasn’t long before VenueTech began leaning on DCLO financially and otherwise.

Civic light operas rely heavily on generous donations from individuals, in addition to their ticket sales. They are not a blank check to be abused. DCLO was a good tenant of the theater. Since year 2000 the DCLO rent paid to the city totaled exactly $893,017.05 Annual rent would have continued in an amount between $120,000 and $130,000 with the theater being occupied 120 days per year.

Since DCLO was forced out, there has been an ever decreasing trend. In the months between December 2013 and March 2014 (inclusive), the theater was occupied for only 18 days. In fact, the month of March saw only two performances.

Then there is the safety issue. Last year, the lead singer of the group Los Lonely Boys suffered serious injuries when he fell off the stage during a performance. Could VenueTech have been more proactive in preventing this kind of mishap? I believe so.

The city of Downey gives VenueTech a small fortune for theater upkeep. Where exactly are those funds ending up? Downey taxpayers should insist upon an audit to be conducted by an impartial third party, with the results printed in The Patriot. Any appearance of impropriety is unacceptable.

VenueTech has had four years to prove themselves, and sadly, they have proved themselves thoroughly incompetent. It is time to bring in a new theater management company in 2015. One with respect for people and the arts.

Mike Sanburn




Published: May 8, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 04