Updated March 30 at 12:29am

Theatre-By-The-Sea is now a nonprofit


SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The Theatre-By-The-Sea in Matunuck is now operating as a nonprofit for the first time in its 75-year history. Owner and producer Bill Hanney announced this weekend that Ocean State Theatre Company Inc., the entity formed last summer to operate the facility, has been designated a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The Massachusetts movie theater operator and musical event producer purchased the theater last June – along with the Rehearsal Hall / Costume Shop in Wakefield – from FourQuest Entertainment Inc. Terms were not disclosed. (READ MORE) Hanney reopened the theater, which had been closed for four years. And the next month, he announced the OSTC’s formation, as part of a plan to take the theater nonprofit.

“Being granted non-profit status allows us to accept contributions from a wide variety of sources including private donors, corporations, foundations and governmental agencies,” noted Richard Hanratty, senior vice president at First Trade Union Bank and a member of the OSTC board of directors. “We feel confident that we will be able to continue the tradition of producing a diverse assortment of productions during the summer months and with the public’s support, we might even extend the season and look at additional programming.”

Besides Hanratty, the nonprofit’s directors include Christine McLackin, a CPA and partner at Charland, Marciano & Co.; Keith Ash, executive director of operations at Entertainment Management Corp.; Joel Kipper, Theatre-By-The-Sea’s managing producer; Ottis Winslow, the theater’s former front-of-house-manager; and Amiee Turner, the theater’s producing artistic director, who serves as board president. The board expects to add several more members by year’s end.

“A strong board of directors will help keep an eye on the longevity of Theatre-By-The-Sea, allowing Mr. Hanney, Joel Kipper and myself to keep our eye on the artistic strength for which the theater is famous,” Turner said.

Four musicals are planned for the theater’s 2008 Diamond Jubilee Season, which opens May 28: “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the patriotic spectacular “George M!,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” and finally, Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.”

Going forward, Ash said, “We would like to consider the development of new works.” And, said Kipper, who has been assisting with arts programming at local schools, “We hope to create an educational program … that will go beyond a main stage children’s series to include adult and children’s workshops, and perhaps a children’s summer theater camp.”

“With the support of the community, the sky is the limit,” Hanney said.

Ocean State Theatre Company Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation formed to operate the historic Theatre-By-The-Sea, in Matunuck village, South Kingstown. For more information, call the box office at 782-TKTS, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., e-mail boxoffice@theatrebythesea.com or visit www.theatrebythesea.com.


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