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Alabama and Lyric Theatres Suffer Loss of Events and Revenue

By Hannah Warren

Photo: Bahman Farzad/Alabama Theatre / CC

The Alabama and Lyric theatres have cancelled events and lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We normally have 150 events at the Alabama and the Lyric,” said Brant Beene, executive director. “We’ve already lost over 100 this year at the Alabama and the Lyric and we expect to lose 50 more before the year is over.”

Beene said that concerts and events are the main source of income for the theatres, though they may get some grant money. This income is how the theatres would pay their bills, which can be as much as $35,000 a month just for the facilities and another $35,000 for employees and personnel, Beene said. According to Beene, there have also been cuts, which include pay cuts, made in order help the theatres to pay their expenses.

“We’re trying our best to do everything we can to keep them open as long as possible,” Beene said.

The theatres are trying to raise money in several ways, such as possibly having their Christmas movies, approaching previous donors, having auctions and starting a GoFundMe campaign, Beene said. However, he said he does not believe these events will bring in all of the revenue that the theatres need. According to Beene, they would likely need help from grants and the government.

“We can only hold 600 in the Alabama [theatre] and social distance. Normally, we would have 2,000,” Beene said. “So, you can see its almost three fourths of the revenue that we would lose just with one movie.”

Even though there will be a reduced amount of revenue produced, Beene said that they hope to have Christmas movies this year. This will be contingent on the amount of COVID-19 cases. In addition, the theatre will be following guidelines from the CDC and the Jefferson County Health Department.

“Hopefully, we can have our Christmas movies and people will come and that’ll help,” Beene said.

Brittney Henderson, a seventh-grade teacher at Hayden Middle School, said her favorite part of going to the Alabama theatre was being able to spend time with her family.

“In my family, it is a tradition to visit during the holidays,” Henderson said.

Henderson said she wants to continue this holiday tradition with her son.

Beene said he thinks the people of Alabama and the city of Birmingham should treasure the theatres and be proud of them because of their history in the city. These types of movie palaces or theatres will not be built again, Beene said.

Mary Grace Hicks, vice principal of Hayden Middle School, said she has enjoyed being able to have school field trips at the Alabama Theatre because for many students “it will be the only time they go to a theatre so grand.”

There has been a GoFundMe account set up for the Alabama and Lyric theatres which is one way for members of the community to help support the theatres. Thus far, the account has received over $180,000 in donations for the theatres. The GoFundMe link can be found on the Alabama Theatre’s website.

“Make a contribution, every little bit helps,” Beene said.

To donate, visit the GoFundMe Link to Save the Alabama and Lyric Theatres: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/save-the-alabama-and-lyric-theatres

Edited by Alivia Moore, Ryan Michaels & Diane Mwai

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham