New library fees push theater groups out

Marco Villarreal

New library fees push theater groups out

CREATED Apr. 25, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The level of talent in the Las Vegas Valley is world-class and extends beyond the Strip.

You can see it any time you go to a local theatrical production. But where you enjoy that entertainment may soon change.

Local theater groups used to perform on stages at local libraries, but rental fees went up last year by 1,500%, and looking ahead to next season they're unsure where the show will go on.

"We had seven of eight sold-out shows. So we have huge community support for it," says Michael Vojdodich, the musical director at Broadway Bound.

Up until recently community theater groups often took the stage at one of five performing arts centers rented from the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

"I don't think we're going to be able to do as many shows as we do for the kids, per year. It just gets too expensive," says Vojdodich.

The reason all comes down to money.

"We can no longer subsidize the use of those facilities by community groups that want to use them. They need to pay what it actually costs to use those facilities," says Jeanne Goodrich, the executive director of LVCCLD.

Over the last few years, the library has cut $23 million from its budget. They've reduced business hours, staff, and the books they buy. The library board has not increased the rental fees for auditoriums and rooms in 18 years.

"I think that what we have to remember is we've been subsidizing, that means losing for outside groups, 80 cents on the dollar," says Goodrich.

But it's not the hike that has community groups upset. It's how much.

"From $4,000 to $26,000! That's a huge hike. And we're a children's theater," says Vojdodich.

"We basically price our productions to break even. Our goal is to break even or to have a little bit of an incremental profit," says Marci Riedy, a Broadway Bound Volunteer.

Moving to a different location next season, along with other theater groups in the Valley, the library says they're not too worried about losing renters.

"So not having people that cost us money saves us money," says Goodrich.

The library argues they're making their fees more compatible with other performing arts centers in the Valley, and that they have nothing against local theater groups.

Those groups hope something will still change and are writing letters, and signing a petition. To find out more info or sign the online petition click here.