Southern Theater misses its fundraising goal

Minneapolis' Southern Theater laid off five staff members and cut the hours of the remaining four Wednesday after falling short on a $400,000 emergency fundraising drive.

In a posting on its website, Southern leadership announced the theater raised about $95,000 by its self-imposed deadline of Saturday evening, and is still confident it can eventually meet the $400,000 goal.

However, Executive Director Gary Peterson said the board felt the staff reductions were the responsible thing to do as the Southern develops a sustainable business model.

"One of the things we will be working on in a very focused way in the next two weeks is flush out the framework of what that new structure will be," Peterson said.

The Southern Theater launched its appeal almost three weeks ago in the face of overwhelming debts and the request from the McKnight Foundation for the return of $300,000 intended to fund dance grants.

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