[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) opened The Rocky Horror Show this last weekend with three sold-out performances. It was great to see so many people Do the Time Warp again!

But what was really good for Burien is during this weekend alone BAT added just over $7,200.00 to the Burien economy. The $7,200.00-plus is over and above ticket sales and other money spent at BAT. That amount is based upon a 2017 study of BAT’s impact on the City of Burien’s economy, which was done by the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.

BAT is performing at its 40-year home in the Burien Annex. The Rocky Horror Show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through March 22.

You may remember the dust-up about the Annex. BAT is still at the Annex because at the Burien City Council meeting on January 16, 2020, Scott Parker of Terracon said that the company’s test results showed no immediate dangers to tenants either via asbestos in floor tiles, lead in the water, or mold.

Terracon is the company Burien selected to test the Annex for lead, asbestos, or mold in the Annex. The Terracon testing results were virtually the same as the testing a State certified laboratory did weeks earlier at the behest of one of BAT’s patrons. BAT had wanted to make sure the building was safe for patrons even before the City agreed to do testing.

Before any testing was completed, the City Manager relied upon the MENG Analysis report, which said it was possible for a building of the age of the Annex to have lead, asbestos, or mold issues. Based upon that possibility, the City Manager terminated the leases of all of the nonprofits who call the Annex home to be effective January 31, 2020. No testing for those substances was part of the MENG Analysis report.

After the two sets of testing, one by BAT’s patron and one by the City of Burien, the Burien City Council agreed to let the nonprofits stay at the Annex through the end of July 2020. During that period, BAT will have eight more weekends of performances: Four more weekends of The Rocky Horror Show and four weekends of A Good Farmer in April and May. So, before BAT is likely forced to close, BAT will add another $57,500.00 or more to the Burien economy, not counting money spent at BAT.

As of now, despite the City of Burien’s tenants assistance team and BAT looking for alternative spaces, BAT has no viable leads on a performance space, a rehearsal space, a build space, or storage space. Without a miracle, at the end of this season, BAT will be forced to close, and the City of Burien will lose the $141,000 plus BAT adds to the Burien economy every season.

After The Rocky Horror Show, BAT will be producing A Good Farmer, which BAT is having translated into Spanish. The Spanish text will be projected onto the set to make theater more accessible to those who can read Spanish but may have more difficulty with spoken English.

This summer BAT is taking the comedy Hay Fever, by Noel Coward, into the parks for free performances in Seattle, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Des Moines, and Renton. Tukwilla, White Center, and Burien are also considering bringing Hay Fever to their parks.

BAT looks forward to seeing you at a show!

– Eric Dickman
Creative Director
Burien Actors Theatre

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