Consultants hired to lift Fort Pierce Sunrise Theater out of financial rut

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FORT PIERCE – Local leaders have agreed to donate $ 120,000 to the historic Sunrise Theater to protect it from financial ruin.

Professional Facilities Management, a Rhode Island consulting firm that conducted a Theater Needs Assessment in 2019, will receive $ 10,000 per month for one year starting October 1 to improve the theater’s marketing strategies and operations.

The theater – which is owned, operated and subsidized by the city since 2006 – has always operated in the red, as evidenced by the $ 1.6 million it has lost over the past five years, according to documents from the city.

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COVID-19 has only worsened the difficulties of the theater. Revenue came to a complete halt in March 2020 when the curtain rose for nine months.

Now officials are hoping the consultants will help resuscitate the theater of financial distress. According to her contract, she:

  • Work with talent agencies to bring more shows
  • Offer new ticketing software
  • Assist in the development of a five to ten year strategic plan to improve theater operations
  • Carry out “secret shopper” visits and deploy customer surveys after the show
  • Analyze the budget and suggest changes
  • Identify current needs or gaps in site infrastructure

The consultant’s fees are believed to come in part from a $ 1,096,000 grant from the Small Business Administration, also known as the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant, which the theater received last month.

Olivia McKelvey is TCPalm’s surveillance reporter for St. Lucia County. You can reach her at [email protected], 772-521-4380 and on Twitter @olivia_mckelvey.


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