Sight & Sound, American Music Theater, Fulton, 19 other entertainment venues affected by pandemic receive $ 23 million in grants | Local company



Better late than never.

Twenty-two entertainment venues, theaters, museums and promoters in Lancaster County this month received federal grants totaling $ 23.3 million under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

The grants, of what was initially proposed as the more focused Save Our Stages program, were initially due to be awarded this spring, as the pandemic still forced sites to operate at a fraction of their capacity or go completely dark.

Now, due to the state’s removal of the latest COVID-related restrictions in May, the sites are back to full capacity.

But federal relief is still needed to help reduce the mountain of debt that has accumulated as their operations were handcuffed by the pandemic, which arrived with fury in March 2020, according to local industry executives.

The $ 16 billion Shuttered Venue program was part of a $ 284 billion aid bill signed by then-President Donald Trump in December. The funds were distributed in early July. The beneficiaries were disclosed Tuesday by the program’s administrator, the US Small Business Administration.

“We are thrilled despite the nearly eight-month struggle to reach the finish line,” said Brandon Martin, director of operations at the American Music Theater, which received $ 4.4 million, the second largest County.

Finally receiving the grant “seems like a huge burden on our shoulders. While we are grateful to be open again, the fact remains that we are coming out of a 15 month period of full closure, ”said Martin.

Sight & Sound Theaters, the county’s biggest tourist attraction and a catalyst for the local tourism industry as a whole, got the maximum possible amount – $ 10.0 million. (See the bottom of the article for the full list of local recipients.)

“We are extremely grateful for the funds that… the grant provided. However, it only covers part of the 70% loss in revenue in 2020, ”said Sara Murphy, vice president of brand development for Sight & Sound.

“We continue to prudently manage our resources while anticipating that theatrical activities will expand to pre-COVID audience sizes. Right now, we are still evaluating how these funds will be allocated, ”she said.

At the Fulton Theater, which received the third prize here, $ 3.1 million, executive artistic producer Marc Robin expressed the point of view of other theater operators – the grant is great but it does not end their worries. financial.

“These funds make us come out better from this pandemic but we still need the support of our community,” he said, saying the association is counting on the public to keep buying tickets and continuing to contribute to its $ 30 million renovation and expansion project. . (Approximately $ 29.45 million has been raised to date.)

Dutch Apple Dinner Theater received $ 1.8 million, the county’s fourth largest grant.

“Although the Dutch Apple has been open for a year, this grant will significantly help our ability to return to a more normal operating budget,” said majority owner Will Prather.

At least two major entertainment venues in Lancaster County have pending grant applications. Mount Hope Estate & Winery / PA Renaissance Faire Research $ 5.4 million. Penn Cinemas also has one pending application; the amount he was looking for was not immediately available.

To be eligible, applicants must show a decrease in earned income of at least 25% in at least one quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. The SBA still accepts applications at https: // www. svograntportal. The details of the request are confidential.

How much can an eligible entity receive? For an entity operating on January 1, 2019, grant amounts are the lesser of 45% of its income earned in 2019 or $ 10 million. For an entity that began operating after January 1, 2019, the grant amounts are six times its 2019 average monthly income for the full months it operated or $ 10 million, whichever is less.

Grants can only be used for certain things, including payroll, payment to independent contractors, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, state or local taxes, and publicity of an event. specific. As part of the application process, entities were required to tell the SBA exactly how they would spend every dollar of grant funds they sought.

“I can tell you that in the industry as a whole nobody sees this grant as a bargain; rather, a way forward after an almost unthinkable period of hardship. While the amount we have received does not make us completely whole, it certainly gives us the opportunity to return much more quickly and efficiently, ”said Martin of the American Music Theater.

Martin pointed out that even though the Lincoln Highway East theater had been extinct from the start of the pandemic until July, expenses continued to pour in – insurance, taxes, utilities, essential building maintenance, and IT and communications capabilities. based. Management has also chosen to continue to pay the company’s share of employee benefits.

These were crucial bills to pay, management said, “if we wanted a chance to get back to our normal functioning after the pandemic. “

When asked to describe the importance of the grant to the theater, given the scale of the financial blow it took from the pandemic, Martin replied:

“It’s hard to say what might have been if we hadn’t received the (grant). We like to think we’re able to make our way through any ordeal, but it’s hard to imagine exactly how we would be able to stay afloat for much longer than we were forced to. “

Lancaster County Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Recipients (Listed by Amount)

Entities listed are in Lancaster, unless otherwise noted.

Sight & Sound Theaters, Strasbourg, $ 10.0 million.

American musical theater, $ 4.4 million.

Fulton Theater, $ 3.1 million.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theater (Prather Productions), $ 1.8 million.

Reel Cinemas Lancaster, $ 1.4 million.

Zoetropolis, $ 666,100.

Creative Ministries, Manheim, $ 393,500.

Lancaster Mennonite Conference Historical Society, $ 234,900.

The Northern Nature and Science Museum, $ 217,900.

Ephrata Performing Arts Center, $ 161,800.

Primary arts, $ 133,200.

The new principal, Ephrata, $ 128,500.

Brett A. Myers Inc., $ 110,000.

Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy, $ 99,500.

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, $ 93,400.

Box Out Productions, $ 76,200.

TAG Management Group, $ 56,100.

Susquehanna Stage Co., Marietta, $ 54,900.

Phantom power, Millersville, $ 44,600.

Music at Gretna, Elizabethtown, $ 31,200.

Box Out Bullying, $ 20,500.

Christian Foundation of the Holy Land, Paradise, $ 18,800.

Source: US Small Business Administration

This story will be updated.


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