(OKLAHOMA CITY) The show will go on.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Mike Morgan said Friday that funding approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will keep the doors of the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie open through June.
“I’m pleased that the Regents recognized the important role the Pollard plays in the arts community Oklahoma and its historical significance in our Territorial Capital and saved this cultural treasure,” said the Stillwater Democrat, whose district includes parts of Guthrie.
The Pollard Theatre is home to the only full-time theater troupe in Oklahoma.
George Pollard first opened a Vaudeville show in the theater building in 1919. The building later served as motion picture theater and was renovated for theatrical use in 1986. The Pollard Theatre Company formed in 1987. State funding through Langston University has historically helped keep the theater operating.
But faced with a nearly 10 percent reduction in legislative appropriations for Fiscal Year 2004, State Regents eliminated funding for the Pollard earlier this year.
The Pollard Company began raising private funds and had acquired enough money to stay open through December, but faced an uncertain future after that, Morgan said.
In July, however, the Office of State Finance distributed $51.2 million to state agencies –revenue that exceeded revised budgetary expectations. Of that so-called windfall, Higher Education received $8.7 million.
“When the new money became available I began working with the Senate fiscal staff and the State Regents to get funding for the Pollard reinstated. Friday’s vote ensures that the Pollard Theatre will remain open into next summer,” Morgan said.
Lawmakers will have to consider a long-term funding plan for the Pollard during the next legislative session, the senator said.