Theater Board OKs Restructuring Plan

The board of the nonprofit Performance Network Theatre has voted to accept a restructuring plan led by John Manfredi, who will become PNT’s producing artistic director. The vote occurred at the board’s June 18, 2014 meeting, according to a press release issued by board president Ron Maurer on June 19. [.pdf of press release]

On May 22, the board had announced that it was suspending operations of the professional theater company after determining that the theater ”is not currently financially viable.” In early June, the board issued a letter stating that the theater did not have resources to pay its staff, actors and vendors in a timely manner, and to make debt payments.

Subsequently, a group of PNT supporters – including former staff – made a proposal to re-open the theater with a smaller staff, dramatically reduced budget, and plan for reaching financial solvency. That proposal was made to the board on June 18.

The June 19 press release from the board states: ”Due to the sensitive nature of negotiations with funders and investors, the sealed bid was delivered confidentially, along with other proposals, to the Board of Directors of the Performance Network Theatre. … In making this announcement Ron Maurer, President of the Board, indicated that there are a lot of hurdles facing the Theatre in the next several weeks. Manfredi and the Board will be working hard to honor commitments to Theatre patrons, donors and vendors. Maurer cautioned that it will take time, but that the Board believes the new production model being implemented is the best option to ensure the long-term sustainability of a professional theater in downtown Ann Arbor.”

The press release describes Manfredi as the owner of Etico Productions LLC, a Michigan theatrical consulting and production company. Manfredi has served as education coordinator of the Creative Arts Center of North Oakland County; and as Managing Director of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre and The Theatre Ensemble at Meadow Brook Theatre.

Performance Network Theatre was founded in 1981 and is currently located in the ground floor of 120 E. Huron St., at the southwest corner of Huron and Fourth Avenue. The building also includes Courthouse Square senior apartments.

In recent years the theater has struggled financially. In April of 2009, the theater announced that it needed $40,000 or it would close – an appeal that resulted in a rush of donations.