Two live entertainment institutions in Birmingham, Alabama are under threat of closing forever if live music doesn’t return soon.
The Alabama Theatre and Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Birmingham are pillars of the city’s cultural history but owners are projecting a collective loss of more than $2 million in revenue by the end of the year if touring musicians and concert promoters don’t return to holding events. Both venues are owned and operated by a nonprofit organization called Birmingham Landmarks, which launched a GoFundMe campaign recently in hopes of privately raising $500,000 to remain open.
The Alabama Theatre opened in 1927 and has welcomed a wide range of performers over the years including Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the Black Crowes, B.B. King, Kings of Leon, and Moon Taxi. The Lyric Theatre opened in 1914 as a vaudeville theater and has operated over the decades as a cinema, a concert hall, a house of worship, and a playhouse. The Lyric was one of the first theaters in Birmingham where black and white audiences were allowed to watch the same show for the same time at the same price, though it took longer to integrate same-area seating and entry.
The GoFundMe page explains that because both venues are owned by a non-profit, they cannot receive funding from the city or state, even though politicians continue to slack on approving any form of federal legislature to aid venues across the country.
The campaign explains,
The theatres are primarily used as rental facilities, meaning that promoters and event producers rent the building and bring in an event that they are managing. Health concerns and travle restrictions are keeping nationally touring artists from booking shows. Even if they are willing to tour, restrictions on large events make it to where it costs more to produce an event than can be made on ticket sales.
It’s worth noting that both venues are currently available for rental, but anyone looking to hold an event will have to meet special accommodations to follow public health and safety requirements set forth by the state. Operators are currently hoping to begin hosting socially distanced movie screenings to test the possibilities of modified public events until concerts return.
Save the Alabama and Lyric Theatres
[Video: Alabama and Lyric Theatres]
Click here to learn more about how to donate and save the two venues.