Brattle Theatre in Danger of Closing?
Cambridge, MA — The Brattle Theatre has brought repertory film programming to Cambridge’s Harvard Square for 52 years, but if they don’t raise $400,000 by the end of this year, they may close.
Here’s a long press release from the Brattle, explaining their predicament:
Repertory film programming at the Brattle simply cannot survive without significant community support. Our current challenges can only be overcome with the involvement of community members who want to keep the tradition of film programming alive at the Brattle Theatre.
The Brattle has experienced the same drop in attendance that has been plaguing cinemas over the past several years. Operating costs – including film rental and facilities management – have increased by 30%. Government, corporate, and foundation funding for cultural organizations have diminished. Furthermore, BFF and the Brattle are feeling the pinch of the changes in Harvard Square’s make-up. As Harvard mainstays like Wordsworth Bookstore, Brine’s and HMV close their doors, the Brattle’s surroundings have lost much of their draw as a vibrant, independent destination. Empty storefronts lead to a decrease in foot traffic, which leads to a decrease in ticket sales."
Just as a ballet company or a museum must be subsidized by donations, so must repertory film programming at the Brattle. By definition, ticket sales are an inconsistent and unreliable source of income. Every other independent repertory cinema in the country relies heavily on public and donation support to solidify their budgets.