LCC board to vote tonight on BoarsHead partnership

By City Pulse

The trustees of Lansing Community College will vote tonight on a proposal to form a partnership with BoarsHead Theater, which went dark last season after going broke.

The proposal would give BoarsHead “free use of performance and rehearsal space as well as facilities and equipment in LCC scene and costume shops,” according to a Power Point presentation that Michael Nealon, dean of LCC’s Liberal Studies Division, is expected to make at the board meeting.

A source provided City Pulse with a copy of the presentation. Nealon declined to comment.

The proposal calls for an annual cost of $86,000, which includes acquiring BoarsHead’s assets and providing labor and material for costumes and scenery, and technical and production support. There would be an additional $15,000 the first year to acquire BoarsHead’s assets.

Larry Meyer, an LCC board member and the chairman of BoarsHead’s board, said he has not seen the presentation. Meyer said he has not engaged in discussions with LCC officials over the proposed partnership because it would be a conflict of interest.

BoarsHead, Mid-Michigan’s oldest resident professional theatre company, closed during its 43rd season. It had been located in downtown Lansing since the 1970s.

The proposal lists at the top of a page called “Risks” that BoarsHead is to “emerge from bankruptcy,” but the nonprofit organization has not filed for bankruptcy. Asked if it will, George Orban, BoarsHead’s acting executive director, said, “We are looking at our options. Obviously, we are going to reorganize in some manner.”

The partnership proposal says BoarsHead would be “solely responsible for salaries and fees paid to equity actors.” Four shows would be done a year and the selection would be “collaborative.”

Other risks the proposal lists:

— “Startup funding to support hiring a full-time Executive Director ($65,000) and part-time Artistic Director ($36,000)”

— “Patron/subscriber loyalty: $112,000 in ticket sales required for operating budget”

— “Grant/gift funding: $150,000 required for operating budget”

— “Scheduling issues for Dart (Auditorium) and impact on LCC students, programs, other community partners”

— “Stretching the human and financial resources of LCC Performing Arts programs.”

— “Eventual renovations/improvements to facilities (dressing rooms w/showers, handicap access, lobby, automated ticketing)”

— “Perceived favoritism among other community arts organizations”

“Benefits” are seen as allowing “students to learn from and perform with professional actors”; “Artistic and professional development for LCC faculty as actors, directors, designers of BoarsHead productions”; “Co-produced events: summer musicals touring shows”; “Educational outreach collaboration: youth programming and summer drama camp; workshops for local actors; recruitment for LCC Theatre program”; “pooled resources: costumes, props, furnishings, equipment”; “Visibility and prestige for LCC among arts patrons and theatre-goers”; “Contribution to cultural and economic health of  downtown area”; “Employment opportunities for actors and theater workers.”