Killeen: Theatre set to close after 37 years

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Vive Les Arts Theatre officials said despite their efforts, donations and attendance are down and have been declining over multiple seasons.

Photo by Sam DeLeon

After meeting in June to review finances committee members decided they could not commit to a new season.

Volunteers did what they could to save the local theater that has been in the Killeen community for over 40 years.

The board of directors at Vive Les Arts Theatre announced it has made a decision to shut down the theater on August 31.

Established in 1976 the theatre has been dedicated to fine arts and entertaining the Killeen community.

Volunteers were devastated when they heard the news and wanted to find a way to keep the doors open.

Millie Mckell took action immediately and started a go fund me page and bank account to get help from the community.

“I can’t imagine not having the theater or having our theater family. It’s what makes us complete here at VLA,” Mckell said.

Dennis Williams has been volunteering with the theater for 37 years. He says that VLA brings the community together.

"Theaters builds family and it builds memories and our lives are made on memories and things, that's what constitutes us, that's what makes us human,” Williams said.

VLA brings together people of all backgrounds. Volunteers say that it also gives military families something to do while they are stationed at fort hood.

Volunteers say they were not given a reason for the closure. They say they’ve had problems with not being able to fill seats from time to time, but never to the point where it to be closed down.

Meghan spear is a stage manager a student at Harker Heights High School. She is upset because she feels like there was no warning to save her place of escape.

"The saying is the show must go on and you don't just after announcing a season and prepping for all and nobody heard anything,” Spear said.

“There's no last minute tries the show must go on but there's none of that. It was just we're closing."

The board vote was split on the decision and President of the board of directors Summer Heidtbrink released a statement saying:

"We are diligently working on gathering all the facts and figures as we know them to be true and accurate so we can present them to you, the community, in a succinct and clear manner so that you may better understand what led some of the Board of Directors decision to bring this era to an end."

Heidtbrink goes on to say she is fighting to keep the doors open and believes it will take support from the community.