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For the past 53 years, the North Shore Music Theatre has provided the best performing arts and educational programs in the area. Now, the Beverly institution needs your support.

Without immediate philanthropic support NSMT will close its doors after 55 years of providing performing arts and educational programming to millions.  The Theatre’s leadership is urging the public to show its support now. Philanthropic gifts can be sent to North Shore Music Theatre, PO Box 62, Beverly, Ma. You may download a pledge form and email it back to tickets@nsmt.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or donate through the Box Office at 978-232-7200.

Effects of the economy, lower than expected donations and ticket sales all season long have left the North Shore Music Theatre unable to cover its operating costs. Further compounding the problem is debt that resulted from a devastating fire in 2005 that forced the theatre to make a major investment in its facilities.

The theatre entered 2008 with a balanced budget that trimmed $1 million in expenses, but its projected revenue from tickets sales has fallen critically short of the goal. Over the last several months, the theatre’s leadership has been focused on devising strategies that would keep the theatre alive and well, including the development of a new business model for the performance season, a possible land sale, and philanthropic outreach.  Despite efforts by NSMT to reduce operating expenses and streamline business practices over the last several years, the severity and speed of the economic downturn has outpaced the theatre’s ability to restore its economic health. All employees have been laid off effective January 11, 2009, when the theatre ended its performance season.

“We had been making solid progress on all fronts, however, with the economic situation so dire, we’ve run out of time,” says David Fellows, Chairman of NSMT’s Board. “To keep the doors open, we need an immediate infusion of nearly a $500,000 by the end of January and overall support of as much as $4 million by late spring to secure programming for next season. We are hopeful that our friends and supporters can help save this phenomenal cultural resource and we are appealing for widespread support.”

“Our non-profit cultural organizations belong to the public,” adds Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  “It is our collective responsibility to support them, buying tickets, making contributions, volunteering.  Institutions like North Shore Music Theater enrich our lives. They enthrall and inspire our children. They contribute to the local economy.  They make each community a better place to live.”

“We need our collective community to come together in support of this theatre,” says Barry Ivan, NSMT’s Artistic Director and Executive Producer. “We’re appealing to the public to help us keep this artistic jewel alive. Every dollar contributed would be an investment in our ability to carry out the financial and creative strategies we believe will ensure the theatre’s future.”

Do you have a story about the North Shore Music Theatre? How has this longtime performing arts stage affected you and your family? Share your stories below and help save this local institution!