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Majestic Faces Possible Budget Cut

Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels.com

If you’ve lived in Corvallis for even just a few short months, chances are that you’ve heard of the various theatres that populate downtown Corvallis. The Whiteside, and it’s supposed Ghosts, can be found on Madison Ave., where this November it will celebrate its centennial! Across the street from it, above the Corvallis Book Bin, is The Darkside Cinema. 

The Darkside is the only independently owned and operated theatre in Corvallis. With its cheeky name, it stays alive in the hearts of the Corvallis community by playing hard to find movies, sci-fi classics with live music, and a number of indie films enough to make any film buff weep with joy.

The theatre we’re focusing on today, however, is The Majestic Theatre. The Majestic is The Whiteside’s big sister, coming in at just over 109 years old. It’s a community staple, hosting community acting and dancing classes, workshops for kids, teens, and adults, and providing needed entertainment throughout the whole of the COVID pandemic. 

Yet, despite the culture and community that The Majestic helps to support and create in our community, it might still suffer a slashed budget. 

The Majestic Theatre puts on its shows and runs its classes and events with only one, single full time employee. Beyond him, a small myriad of part time employees do their best to recruit and maintain volunteers, many of whom have to be specially trained to provide the Corvallis community with the shows and memorable moments that have kept The Majestic running for over one hundred years. 

Slashing the budget down to the city council, City Manager Mark Sheppard’s suggested $34,000 would result in the cutting of several employees from the cast line up. 

​​”With the proposed $34,000 budget, The Majestic would only be able to do one show on the main stage, one musical, and would cut the reader’s theatre in half. The Majestic Piece Theatre would be completely destroyed,” said Director Sarah Sheldrick. 

Calling it curtains for these employees would mean that there are fewer people to run the Majestic programs, to train volunteers to assist in the building, and to keep the art’s community in Corvallis as alive and thriving as it is. 

It also means that the single full time employee at Majestic might have to take on more and more responsibilities than a theatre administrator should have to handle. 

When speaking with employees and volunteers of The Majestic, it was said that there are often times when employees and volunteers have to work overtime to make ends meet for the shows. According to one employee who wishes to remain anonymous, said that it is common for people in the office to take on additional duties, without the benefit of additional pay that you would see at private businesses.

Why does The Majestic have to take the full brunt of a cut budget; What other ways is the budgeting being dealt with to protect the city’s cultural interest and history? These are questions that we need to be asking the city council and city manager.

The theatre is asking for help from the community to keep the shows alive; Attend a City Council meeting and have your voice heard.

Column written by student and art and culture enthusiast, Vedis Frick.

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