Struggling Opera House Cuts Staff

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    The Grand Opera House in Wilmington has laid off a quarter of its staff and is undergoing a major restructuring due to a financial downturn.

    Executive Director Steve Bailey tells The News Journal the nearly 150-year-old opera house faced a “substantial” deficit. He declined to say how much of a shortfall The Grand was facing. He says changes to salaries and benefits should save $600,000.

    “When you go through several years of not meeting your goals, the impact becomes much more dramatic and eye-opening,” Bailey told the paper.

    The layoffs leave the Grand with about two dozen employees, Bailey said.

    Bailey says The Grand has been facing a prolonged downturn. Corporate donations were down by $100,000. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra has been performing many concerts elsewhere, costing the theater $200,000.

    The Grand may cut subsidies to resident arts groups including the orchestra, OperaDelaware, First State Ballet.

    Ticket sales have grown in recent years but only represent about half of The Grand's $3.8 million budget.

     


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