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In the midst of struggle, local theater gets a priceless gift

Len Matheo got a wholly unexpected gift in the middle of our unfolding crisis.

The executive and artistic director of the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden had just finished meeting with his staff when the call came in: the theater’s landlord, Mesa Meadows Land Management, would waive the $3,600 in rent the theater would owe in April.

“They wrote to us and said we are going to waive the rent for the month of April. We didn’t ask, they just did it. I thought that was so loving and giving and I wanted to share what they had done for us, in hopes that other groups in our situation might be given the same gift,” Matheo said.

The theater, established in 1989, faces between $25,000 and $30,000 a month in fixed expenses, which is largely payroll and health insurance for its six staff members. So, a $3,600 gift makes a meaningful difference for the theater.

Matheo said he is committed to paying his staff through the theater shutdown as long as he can. But with no revenue coming in from anticipated shows – like “Moon Over Buffalo” which was set to open in March – that commitment will be an ongoing struggle.

“When you think about a working actor’s day job to pay the rent, which is often working at a restaurant, this situation is a double whammy,” Matheo said. “We are going to stick together and take care of one another. It’s all we can do.”

Matheo said he was also humbled to find that the vast majority of ticket holders for their planned but now cancelled production opted to donate the price of their tickets to the theater rather than ask for a refund.

“We are cognizant of the fact that many of our patrons, just like us, are struggling now and likely facing financial hardships as well,” Matheo said. “So, the fact that they would donate their ticket cost really meant a great deal to all of us.”

The Miner's Alley Playhouse company
Members of the Miner’s Alley Playhouse