BECKLEY, W.Va. — The former general manager of Theatre West Virginia in Raleigh County said her heart is broken.
“It’s like we’ve had a death in the family. That’s how it feels,” said Gayle Bowling of the abrupt closure of Theatre West Virginia.
After 53 seasons of shows like “Honey In The Rock” and “Hatfields & McCoys,” the southern West Virginia theater abruptly shut down earlier this week following a unanimous decision from Theatre West Virginia’s board.
Bowling said they’ve endured years of state funding cuts and expenses were far outpacing revenues.
“We did not think it was possible for us to go forward with our tour and, certainly, we were not in a position to pay royalties , in advance, to be able to produce the summer season next year,” said Bowling on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
She said the rainy weather this past summer kept many people at home and that only added to the financial problems. She said Theatre West Virginia depended on state funding.
“Since this organization was first formed, the state has provided financial support because of the impact as far as bringing tourists,” said Bowling. “Earned income is never going to be enough to meet your budget requirements.”
The home for Theatre West Virginia was the 1,259-seat Cliffside Amphitheatre in Grandview. In addition, the Education Touring Company traveled to different parts of West Virginia for school performances.
All of the employees, including Bowling, were laid off Wednesday.