Struggling Hippodrome closes doors
March 2, 2010
96-year-old local theater cancels performance, lays off staff due to lack of funds
By Laura Remson
The Waco community was greeted with the news Friday morning that the Waco Hippodrome was closing its 96-year-old doors.
The Waco Performing Arts Comp. board canceled Thursday’s performance of “One Night of Queen” and was forced to let go of its staff after an emergency board meeting Wednesday night that determined a lack of funds for the performance, said Dr. Jim Kendrick, Baylor film and digital media assistant professor and WPAC board of directors member.
One person affected greatly by this closing is Brandon Burns, Waco resident and former technical director/facilities manager for the Waco Hippodrome.
“I went and filed for unemployment this morning and I’ve got to go find another job and I’ll probably have to move out of Waco, but it is what it is,” Burns said. “In the economy and the times that we live in, arts aren’t supported.”
Burns was not shocked by the closing, but by the timing.
“I was surprised at the suddenness of its closing,” Burns said. “For us that work there, it’s been having money problems for some time so it’s nothing new to us. We just did what we could to save money wherever we could.”
It wasn’t enough. The theatre’s financial troubles have been in the news for the past few years. A comedy group, Greater Tuna, canceled shows in September of 2009 and March of 2008, leading to much of the financial difficulty the Hippodrome faced in its last year, according to a March 2009 release.