The Philadelphia Theatre Company will not produce a 2017-2018 theater season.
Instead, the company occupying the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Broad Street intends to lie low for a year, while presenting performances and events by outside companies.
PTC just hired a new producing artistic director, Paige Price, and she knew what she was getting into. The company, formed in 1974, has been on slippery financial footing for years, once nearly losing its theater to foreclosure. Price said it can’t keep playing catch-up with its debts.
“We have operated with financial stresses for some years. I could see a pattern on how our operational model could not sustain itself,” she said.
The board approved Price’s plan for a “gap year,” to spend time developing a new, more sustainable business model for the theater company. In the meantime, the 2017-18 season will feature touring shows, comedy, play readings, speakers, and collaborations with other local theater companies.
“We are definitely going to go back to self-producing, but we might have to do it more gradually than ‘everything is going to go back to the old model’ in ’18 – ’19,” said Price.
Without the need for lengthy rehearsals and play development, Price said the Suzanne Roberts Theatre will likely host more events next season. A season schedule has not yet been determined, although Price said she will program performances that are timely and relevant: “knowing we enjoy a very activist city, I want to see what that looks like.”