North Bay Theaters Get $ome Relief

Theaters throughout the North Bay have finally started to receive disbursements from the Federal Government’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program. The program, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, was signed into law in December 2020. It offers substantial grants to producing organizations and entertainment venues to replace lost revenue as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns and assist in keeping them viable until in-person entertainment can resume.

Applications for individual grants of up to $10 million, which do not have to be repaid, could be submitted starting in April 2021. Grant amounts would be based on 45% of an entity’s 2019 gross earned revenue less the amount of any PPP loan received in 2021. Funds can be used for ticket refunds for cancelled shows, payroll expenses, payment of independent contractors, rent/lease/mortgage payments, facility maintenance & utility costs and other necessary and ordinary business expenses. The program has been funded to the total of $16 billion.

Grant amounts in the North Bay ran from $1,576 for San Rafael’s Alter Theatre to $656,835 for the Transcendence Theatre Company in Sonoma.

To qualify for a grant, live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers and live performing arts organizations must have met one of two criteria:

  1. Their principal business must be organizing, promoting, producing, managing or hosting live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions or other events by performing artists. The venue must charge a fee (either ticket sales or a cover charge) and performers must be paid based on a percentage of sales, a guarantee or other mutually beneficial formal agreement. Venues must generate at least 70% of revenues through ticket sales; production fees/reimbursements; nonprofit educational initiatives; or the sale of event food, beverages or merchandise.
  2. Their principal business must be selling tickets available to the public at least 60 days before live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions or other qualifying events for which performers are paid based on a percentage of sales, a guarantee or other mutually beneficial formal agreement.

These venues must also have a defined performance and audience space, mixing equipment, a public address system and a lighting rig; market their performances; and hire at least one person to perform two of the following jobs: sound engineer, booker, promoter, stage manager, security personnel or box office manager.

The SBA maintains a publicly-available database of all SVOG grantees. The following North Bay grant information was extracted from that database:

Marin County Grants

142 Throckmorton Theater – $334 ,438

Alter Theatre Ensemble – $1,576

Marin Shakespeare Company – $312,191

Marin Theatre Company – $384,553

Mountain Play Association – $322,901

Ross Valley Players – $118,776

Sonoma County Grants

Cinnabar Arts – $269,515

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center – $39,488

Left Edge Theatre – $73,101

Main Stage West – $52,824

Raven Performing Arts Theater – $98,406

Reduced Shakespeare Company – $192,225

Roustabout Theater – $36,623

6th Street Playhouse – $478,502

Sonoma Arts Live – $79,860

Spreckels Performing Arts Center – $142,240

Transcendence Theatre Company – $656,835


As of August 20, 2021, SVOG is no longer accepting new applications.

The SVOG portal remains open to all active applicants and awardees. Later in August, SBA will open the program for supplemental SVOGs for 50% of the original award amount, capped at a total of $10 million (initial and supplemental combined). Details will be announced at a later date.

Click HERE to go to the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant page.

Click HERE to view the complete list of SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grantees as of 09/07/2021.

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