A Letter To Our Patrons – Chamberlayne Actors Theatre

By | September 13, 2020

Dear Friends of Chamberlayne Actors Theatre:

Two years ago, we were at a crossroads. Faced with financial challenges, including unrealistic rent increases, we came to the difficult decision that Chamberlayne Actors Theatre, or CAT, would close after fifty-four seasons in our North Wilkinson Road location.

Then an amazing thing happened. You rallied around us and let us know that you didn’t want us to go away. You attended meetings, volunteered, and opened your checkbooks. With your assistance, and the help of our friends at Virginia Repertory Theatre, from the ashes, CAT was reborn.

Since that time, we have worked diligently to continue to bring you shows that you love. We also embarked upon a strategic planning process that included community input, the reworking of our mission statement, the creation of a managing director position, and a new vision for the future.

We were well into our fifty-sixth season when a global pandemic hit, forcing us to close our doors and cancel the last two shows of the season.

Nothing would have thrilled us more than to open our season in September with the world premiere of the hilarious Honky Tonk Hissy Fit, the third in the Doublewide, Texas series. But, like theaters around the country, we don’t know when we will be able to open.

Because of your contributions and your generous outpouring of support over the summer, we are not rich, but we are not in a financial crisis either. However, we realized that using these funds to continue to pay rent on a building that continues to stand empty is not good stewardship.

With that in mind, we went to our landlord and asked for a temporary reduction in rent that we would agree in good faith to pay back over an extended period of time. We asked for an understanding because we just don’t know at this point when we will again have a steady income. 

We did receive a short-term offer, but that came with repayment terms that we could not accept.

Again, we were at a crossroads.

Do we deplete our resources and continue to pay rent on a building that is not up to code, that has multiple maintenance issues, that does not have adequate restroom facilities…well, you’ve been there, we don’t need to tell you more.

Had we been able to reach agreeable terms, we were willing to continue to work with our landlord to correct these issues. But the terms were unacceptable and apparently non-negotiable.

We came to a decision. By the end of September 2020, we will vacate the Wilkinson Road facility. We have already begun the search for a new location that we look forward to opening in a post-COVID world.

Sadly, that means that we will not be announcing our 57th Season. At this point, we don’t know when we will be back on stage. We hope sooner rather than later.

Our promise to you is that we’re going to make this work. We’re going to find a new home where we can once again bring you the shows you love.

In the meantime, CATharsis Pandemic Theatre will continue. Watch for our first installment later this month.

We cannot adequately express our appreciation for how you have supported and encouraged us over the years.

It’s a brand-new day for Chamberlayne Actors Theatre, and we’re excited about it. We hope you are too.

We will keep you posted with updates along the journey.


The Chamberlayne Actors Theatre Board of Directors

P.S. If you converted your remaining 2019-2020 subscriptions to the following season, we will be in touch with you directly regarding your preferences.

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