Parkway Playhouse makes changes while eying future

  • The Parkway Playhouse sits covered in snow earlier this year. There have been some changes at the Parkway Playhouse. (Submitted)

BURNSVILLE — For several months, the Parkway Playhouse staff and board of directors have been diligently and strategically planning some changes that will ensure continued financial stability for the organization. 

In 2020, as the reality of a global pandemic arose, Parkway Playhouse joined theaters across the nation in closing its doors. They had to stop holding in-person performances and classes in the interest of public health. 

The impact in the community was significant and earned revenue for the theater dropped by over 90 percent.

With the rollout of the vaccine moving slowly, there remains much uncertainty regarding restarting in-person performances.

The theater staff and board began asking themselves difficult questions: When can people gather in the theater safely? How can we sustain ourselves financially without ticket sales? Can we reduce our expenses even more than we already have?

“A few months ago, as I was working on a first draft of the budget for 2021, I spent a great deal of time imagining different scenarios related to being able to have an in-person season,” said Executive Director Jeff Bachar. “It didn’t look favorable as all of the scenarios were ones over which we had little control. My goal with the 2021 budget was to plan one that would position Parkway Playhouse with a renewed strength for the Playhouse’s 76th year in 2022.”

So, Bachar made the decision to cut his position out of the budget. 

“Once I did that, the numbers started to look decent,” he said. 

When the budget was shared with the board, everyone agreed it would be best for the organization. Bachar will continue his involvement with Parkway Playhouse as a volunteer in a variety of capacities and plans to take advantage of other career interests, so timing was good coincidentally.

“Once we took into account the balancing act necessary to keep Parkway moving forward, we formed a transition committee,” said current Board President Cassie Floan. “Starting with a detailed process to make sure we would have coverage across all of our functions and see that the staff not be overwhelmed, the board is absorbing as much as possible.”

Staff members Kristen Livengood and Hunter Taylor will also be modifying their work to help with the transition.

The community has been very generous with individual donations and those are appreciated greatly, especially during this time of unpredictability. In combination with the organization’s strong finance and fundraising committees, Parkway Playhouse has been able to secure funding from the Small Business Administration and continues to seek out supporting grants. 

While working together with the community’s support, Parkway Playhouse wants nothing short of bringing theater back into everyday life: continuing to inspire, educate and entertain for generations to come.

For more information about Parkway Playhouse or to donate, call 682-4285 or visit