Kurt Beattie, Karen Bystrom
Two non-profit theater companies, ACT Theatre and the Empty Space had grown and prospered for over three decades in Seattle. In the 2000s, both confronted fiscal crises that threatened their survival. The Empty Space closed in 2006, but ACT remains in operation. This case study examines the history of each organization and the similarities and differences in their responses to fiscal instability. It focuses on four key areas of operation: facilities, capital campaigns and fundraising; cash flow; boards and leadership; and staff turnover. Success or failure in one area doesn’t determine the final outcome; an organization’s survival hinges on how well it meets challenges in all four areas.
Organization or Event
Empty Space Theatre; A Contemporary Theatre (ACT)
Form of Entity
Area of Activity
Arts Presenter/Distributor (any artistic discipline)
O'Neil, Rebecca, "A Tale of Two Theaters: ACT, the Empty Space, and Economic Stability in Seattle Theater" (2019). Empty Space Theatre. 1.