02/21/08 — Groups express their concern over Paramount rental rates

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Groups express their concern over Paramount rental rates

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on February 21, 2008 1:46 PM

Groups that have booked or plan to book the new Paramount Theatre met in an informal meeting with theater Director Sherry Archibald Wednesday afternoon to discuss concerns about its operation, chiefly the cost of renting the facility.

The current fees for the Paramount Theatre are:


(based on four-hour

performance time)

*$500 for first performance in a day

*$250 for second performance on same day

Rehearsals or social events

(based on four-hour event)

*$200 per event

Workshop or presentation

(based on four-hour event)

*$300 per event

Daily rental

*$1,000 to $1,500 for a 12-hour period, depending on needs and staffing requirements

Technical Services

*$15 per hour for each sound technician, light technician and fly technician.

Many of the non-profit organizations voiced the opinion that the rates are too high and that they won't be able to pay for all of the time they need. The rates, they said, were three times higher than before the old Paramount burned.

They said they understood that the theater needed to bring in enough to cover utilities and salaries.

"We don't expect to meet expenses," Mrs. Archibald said. "The City Council doesn't expect us to meet expenses. But maybe we can come close. Maybe we can reach a compromise."

A representative from CenterStage asked if the fees were set in stone.

"These fees aren't set in stone," Mrs. Archibald said. "I wanted to see what you thought and get some feedback from you, and then take these fees back to the City Council. They may change, but I don't foresee them going up."

Others asked if she or the council would look into having lower prices for non-profit organizations than for profit organizations, since they can only raise so much money, and she said she would speak to the council about doing that.

Rental fees are based on four-hour increments, a part of the rental agreement that people also had questions about.

Members of the audience said that they may only use two hours or may need six.

Mrs. Archibald assured them that she would work with them and try to figure out a situation that would work for both sides.

"Maybe if you have two, two-hour sessions, then you can combine them into one, four-hour session, that way we don't have to bring people out here to open up and operate things for you for two nights," she said. And, the fees would be adjusted accordingly, she added.

"If you need six hours instead of four, well maybe then we can only charge an extra $200 instead of another $500. But, if you need an extra three or four hours, then we would need to charge for another day," she said.

Marilyn Bateman, a board member for the Wayne County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony, suggested that Mrs. Archibald have different fees for different time increments and put them on a revised agreement.

"Maybe you could have different prices for four, six or eight hours," Mrs. Bateman said.

Mrs. Archibald said she would take that into consideration.

"We're all very unique and have special needs, but I'm sure we can accomplish what everyone needs and help each other out the best we can," she added.

The fees rent the entire theater, but if there is something that can be worked out for a few groups at one time, she will try to help them do that.

Beer, wine and concessions can be served for events, but she informed the groups that they had to obtain their own permits for the alcohol. She asked that there be no concessions that require condiments like cheese or ketchup in an effort to keep the carpets as clean as possible.

Other rules for use of the theater include:

*The theater will give priority to established local performers but rental dates will normally be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

*Rental dates should be made three weeks in advance and will require a 25 percent non-refundable deposit.

*Storage of production props and equipment will be permitted during the period of rehearsal dates only.

*Eating and drinking will only be permitted in the lobby.

*The theater will not be responsible for selling tickets for sponsoring organizations.

*The renter is responsible for obtaining, at its own expense, prior to the date of the event, all necessary licenses for the performance.

*Alcohol permits will need to be obtained by the renter and a copy of the permit will need to be provided prior to the event. Per city ordinance, only beer and wine will be permitted in the lobby of the theater.

*The use of pyrotechnics and smoke effects are not allowed in the theater.

For more information, call Mrs. Archibald at 750-1481.