The Palace Theatre is under a new management team, and running a surplus in revenue for the first time since 2009.
On Thursday, Holly Brown was announced as the Palace’s new executive director, after filling the role of interim executive director since the departure of Kevin Carlon about two months ago. Managing director Owen Smith, who joined the staff in August of 2012 and is also producing artistic director of Albany’s Park Playhouse, along with Kevin Johnson, who has been director of corporate sponsorships since May of 2012, round out the new team.
During the 2011-12 season, the venue had a $17,000 surplus, after running a six-figure deficit in the 2010-11 season. The 2012-13 season, which ends on June 30, is expected to once again pull a surplus.
“It’s really [because of] the hard work of our director of corporate sponsorships, and everybody on our staff really getting out in front of people and telling folks about the great story that we have here,” Brown said. “Corporations are looking for ways to support important things in the community, and the Palace, they see as something vital to this area, and they also see that it’s a good marketing tool for them as well. We get 150,000 people through the doors as well, and their partnership enables them to get in front of those folks.”
Since opening in October of 1931, the Palace has continuously offered an array of programming, including theater, dance, live music, comedy and family events. The 2010-11 season featured 79 performances; last season that number shot up to 103 and, according to Brown the theater is on pace to hit about 112 this season.
“The Palace has a very diversified schedule — we try to bring in something for everybody, and we are accomplishing that,” Brown said. “I think diversity is one of our biggest keys. We want to keep bringing in family shows and comedians, and of course the Albany Symphony Orchestra performs here, and we have a lot of great rock concerts as well.”
One of Brown’s goals is to increase the number of arts and education events at the theater. In the future, the venue will be working with Park Playhouse to accomplish just that.
“We have about eight shows a year that are school time shows,” Brown said. “We plan to grow that type of programming, as well as perhaps develop types of programs that go out into the schools as well.”
With further surpluses expected, Brown hopes to focus on improvements to the theater itself. Most recently, the Palace has partnered with the Albany Parking Authority to provide free parking for performances in the Quackenbush Garage, located at the corner of Broadway and Clinton Avenue.
“I think right now our focus — we have a small staff, we have 10 people full time, so our focus right now is to continue to bring more shows into the building and make as much of a profit off that as possible, and build the corporate sponsorship support,” Brown said. “When that gets where it needs to be, we can start investing some of the surplus we’re realizing back into the building. We’d like to have a better lobby ... The lobby can be a little jammed sometimes, so it could use some enhancements.”