“We’re not planning on closing,” said Murphy Davis, the artistic director of the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, which will allow its lease to run out at its current location in May of 2013.
Mr. Davis and Tracy Mitchell, the theater’s executive director, broke the news to the Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday night. “We felt it was our responsibility as a village entity,” Mr. Davis said. The current lease will see the theater through its 2012 season next summer, but after that the organization will be searching for a new spot for its stage productions, workshops, comedy performances, movie nights, and more.
The Bay Street Theatre has occupied the space on the wharf for 20 years, renting from Malloy Enterprises, which is owned by Patrick Malloy III. The lease was temporarily renegotiated last year for three years, but after that, said Mr. Davis, it’s time for the theater to find a more permanent home.
The yearly rent for the not-for-profit theater is holding at around $200,000 a year, but with the slowed economy, Mr. Davis said, it is harder to meet that goal without a major capital campaign each year.
“Having a permanent place that the theater owned would be a great help to our capital campaign,” he said. “We just need to find an alternate space in Sag Harbor.”
He pointed out that the theater brings “an enormous amount of income into the town. We have 150 to 300 people per night” during the season. “Those people want to eat, to shop, to see the sights.”
There has been an offer to Bay Street from Mark Epley, the Mayor of Southampton Village, to take over the lease on the Parrish Museum building. Mr. Davis acknowledged the generosity of the offer. “We are certainly keeping all of our possibilities open,” he said. “But our goal is to stay in Sag Harbor. We love this town and love being a part of it.”