Long Island City’s cultural scene took a major hit this week as the Secret Theatre announced it would be closing its doors permanently.
“We made it to 10 years, we were never a drain on the public purse and we created many thousands of opportunities for actors, audiences and students to come together to practice, watch, learn and enjoy truly eclectic live theatre,” said Richard Mazda, the theater’s owner and executive director.
The closure was mostly related to financial issues stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, according to Mazda.
The theater put on productions from Shakespeare to Charlie Brown during it’s run in western Queens. It was home to improv groups and premieres of shows from Adam Szymkowicz and Gideon Productions. Broadway playwrights attended and Broadway actors preformed on the Secret Theatre’s small stage.
While the theater itself may be closing it’s doors, Mazda will continue to offer the Secret Theatre Academy Online. Mazda said the the teaching staff and student body will expand under the new circumstances.
The executive director said that the theater’s closing is the first of many within the arts and culture world.
“The current and continuing devastation of the theatre community will leave people shocked once the wheels stop spinning,” Mazda said. “I believe that people have no idea of the level of closures they should expect but in our view it’s an unmitigated disaster that has no precedent.”
Mazda went on to mention that, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts and culture sector of the U.S. economy adds nearly $60 billion more than construction and $227 billion more than transportation to the country’s GDP.
While he hopes the economic value of the arts and culture sector will bring better funding to cultural institutions, his call for help is going unanswered he said.
“This is a five-alarm fire and no one is answering our distress calls,” Mazda said.
For more information about the theater’s online academy, visit www.secrettheatre.com.