On October 21, 2017, on the morning of our annual fundraiser, Executive Director Judy Stene received devastating news in the form of a letter from the City of Fresno, that the Memorial Auditorium, our home for over 17 years, was being closed to CMT effective December 31, 2017 due to a recent inspection that uncovered potential safety issues. This letter came without any prior notice, after CMT had secured rights and made plans for the 2018 season. This news was presented to our guests, staff, performers and the media that day at the fundraiser, resulting in an outpouring of support from the theater community as well as the community at large.
Fortunately, the City of Fresno listened, and extended an invitation to meet immediately that week with industry experts and city officials, to determine the extent of the safety issues. During this meeting, it was determined that the issues were already known by CMT and had been worked around for several years, ensuring the safety of our performers, crew, and guests. Based on these new evaluations, the City of Fresno offered the use of the theater for the 2018 season, allowing time to seek funding to make necessary repairs. CMT is in the process of actively seeking major donors interesting in naming rights, to ensure that this beautiful historic building is preserved for all to use and enjoy.
The Memorial Auditorium is the only full sized stage in the local area with full fly lines, dressing rooms to accommodate casts of 100 kids, and the stage size to hold a cast of 100 as well as the large sets that our productions require. In addition, our vast costume and prop department is home to 1000’s of costumes that are utilized by other theaters and schools all over the valley. These unique characteristics are what make CMT what it is, and set it apart from other local theaters. Without this theater, CMT will cease to exist as is, valley children by the 1000s will lose field trip opportunities, and hundreds of kids will no longer have a guaranteed opportunity to perform, learn and grow.
This past December, our production of Annie was viewed by approximately 2000 school children for school field trips, and our 8 public performances provided valuable entertainment to families all over the Valley. Our audience members, cast members and their families dine at downtown restaurants and coffee shops, and provide a general presence in the downtown area, bringing over 10,000 people to the theater and downtown during our 2017 season. Further, our office and box office hold staff are excellent stewards of the facility year round. We know that the community finds great value in our program!
More facts about our program:
• Over 3,300 program alumni. Past alumni include Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer (Glee), Michael Willet (United States of Tara; MTV’s Faking It) and Chicago Fire’s Miranda Mayo, among other on and off Broadway stars.
• Prestigious inclusion in Disney Theatrical’s website showcasing our costuming and sets. The theater was a vital part of this recognition.
• Entertaining over 112,000 audience members of all ages and 74,000 local school children and summer camp attendees.
• Community outreach including the distribution of over 4700 free tickets to organizations that represent our community’s at-risk youth.
• Making a difference Downtown - It has been proven that communities that offer the arts (particularly to youth) are the most attractive to new residents and businesses.
Please contact us to find out what you can do to help keep the theater open for CMT and all of the other Valley organizations that utilize it! Check back for news updates!