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Queens Chronicle

Theater wants you to help keep a secret

At risk of closing, venue starts fundraising

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:42 am, Thu Aug 28, 2014.

The Secret Theatre may soon be no more.

Richard Mazda, founder and director of the theater on 23rd Street in Long Island City, has kickstarted an Indiegogo campaign to save his company from closing.

The theater, which relies mostly on ticket sales, got into trouble after the Department of Buildings determined the facility was not up to code.

Mazda was hit with fines, architecture fees and other expenses, something he had not budgeted for at the beginning of the year.

“Our budgets are tiny and with no real reserve to speak of, we are dealing with a cash hole that threatens our existence,” Mazda writes on the social fundraising site. “The Secret has become a major contributor to the cultural life of Western Queens and LIC and has been responsible for creating a theatre scene in LIC where none previously existed.”

But with Mazda having influenced much of the Long Island City Arts community — he founded the LIC Arts Open — he is now looking to the people he’s helped out through the years to return the favor.

The Secret Theatre is offering perks and merchandise in exchange for donations in an effort to raise the $10,000 needed to close the funding gap.

Those interested in donating can give anywhere from $10 to $5,000, with better perks going to people who donate more money.

Gifts include dedicating theater chairs in the donor’s name, “I Kept The Secret” T-shirts, free tickets to shows and more.

“So many people in this community and in the general NY theater and arts community think of us as an institution and yet we receive no money from either the City Council, the New York Foundation for the Arts nor from the Department of Cultural Affairs,” the site reads. “If you help us, you will keep a truly grassroots supported organization alive and kicking.”

To donate, visit indiegogo.com/projects/can-you-keep-the-secret.

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