Venture Pays Back City

Venture Theatre pays city, looks ahead to open house May 11

May 03, 2013 12:30 am  •  By Jaci Webb

Venture Theatre has paid its debt to the city of Billings and is looking ahead to an open house and grand reopening party May 11 at the community theater.

Darci Hertz, finance director for Venture, said the theater paid $72,356 Wednesday to the city of Billings. The payment was made through the “generous support of Rimrock Opera Company and Mike Schaer,” Hertz said.

The only remaining entity that Venture Theatre owes money to is Schaer, Hertz said.

Fundraising efforts over the past four months have brought in more than $125,000, but more money is needed to pay off the mortgage. Hertz stressed that Venture is current on its mortgage payments, but the master plan is to continue with its capital campaign to pay off the entire mortgage. This will take some time, she said.

Meanwhile, Venture is going forward with plans to merge with Rimrock Opera Company. The theater will be renamed during an open house and auction fundraiser on May 11. Area artists decorated musical instruments and other items that will be posted online beginning Saturday. Bidding ends at 7 p.m. on May 11.

“It’s not that things are cushy right now,” Hertz said. “We are going forward with the mortgage payment every month, and there are things that need to be repaired. We are also looking at soundproofing the building.”

Hertz said Venture is seeking other ways to collaborate with the community and to help keep a steady flow of income. The theater has five large practice rooms, each with 500 square feet of space, and another room that could be used for board meetings. The two theaters can also be rented out to community groups, she said.