Downey extends theater management deal with VenueTech

VenueTech had its theater management contract extended three years Tuesday. Photo by Alex Dominguez

VenueTech had its theater management contract extended three years Tuesday. Photo by Alex Dominguez

DOWNEY – VenueTech will continue management of the Downey Civic Theatre, however it is likely that the theatre’s marketing and presenting series will be handed off to someone else.

San Francisco based Venuetech is currently responsible for the management and operation of the 738-seat “midsized” community theatre.

The City Council voted Tuesday to extend VenueTech’s contract to manage the theatre for another three years. However, it seems that the general consensus amongst council members and staff that its in areas other than management where VenueTech is lacking.

“The majority of the work is the management of the theatre, which they’ve done and I think it seems like everyone thinks they’ve done a good job on the managing part,” said Councilmember Alex Saab. “Where I think there is some room for improvement is the Presenting Series; the eight to 10, six to eight [or] 10 performances that it appears the city of Downey is putting on...I think that’s where they’ve fallen short. It’s not to say that the management has fallen short.”

City Manager Gilbert Livas said that the theatre’s Presenting Series has been “hit or miss.”

“If they’re not doing so well and it’s costing us money, we’d rather instead of having eight presenting series maybe you’d have three but they’re legitimate shows,” said Livas. “It’s better to shrink that and pay for more elaborate shows.”

The theatre’s subcommittee – made up of council members Saab and Blanca Pacheco – are currently looking in to ways to enhance not only the Presenting Series, but the venue’s marketing as well.

It’s likely that the city will soon be putting out requests for proposals, or RFP’s, to find a partner to aid in these areas.

“The RFP that will probably be going out is going to be somewhat broad because we don’t know yet,” said Saab. “We’re not experts on theatre. When we put that out it really is truly awaiting proposals from people who are experts in that…obviously it’s going to go back to the council eventually and then we’ll go from there.”

NewsAlex Dominguez