While the Mars Theatre’s slate of shows and programs continues to expand and attract visitors, there is also a growing demand to rent the facility.
Springfield City Council members approved at their Aug. 12 meeting to enact a rental agreement for the Mars.
“I can start referring the many, many calls every week to a form and a contract,” said city cultural affairs director Tommy Deadwyler. “It’s so we can move forward renting the theater.”
Setting up the rental agreements and a fee structure also could help defray the building’s operating costs.
“We wanted to protect ourselves and protect our investment,” Deadwyler said. “It costs us money to open the doors and turn the air conditioning on. There are costs associated with the theater.”
Deadwyler and City Manager Breett Bennett went through rental contracts such as those Atlanta’s Fox Theatre and Statesboro’s Averitt Center for the Arts have and also worked on the proposed fee schedule.
“Everything is in line with where want to be,” Deadwyler.
Nonprofit groups will get a break in the rental fee structure, according to Deadwyler. City attorney Ben Perkins also addressed the qualms over renting a government-owned building, since the city owns and operates the Mars.
Full use of the Mars, under the basic rental agreement, is $1,200 per day. For events lasting longer than eight hours, an additional $100 per each extra hour will be charged. There is also a $600 charge for each additional day or rehearsal. For nonprofits, the Mars will charge $775 per single event per day from Sunday through Thursday for a maximum of eight hours. Each hour over the limit will be an additional $100.
The price includes a technical director, stage lighting, two stage monitors, microphones, audio mixing board, projection equipment and box office services.
For conference use of the Mars, the fee is $600 for the first two hours and $100 for each hour after that. Nonprofits wishing to use the Mars for conferences from Sunday-Thursday will be charged $300 for the first two hours of each day and $75 for each additional hour.
Deadwyler also said the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Municipal Association are discussing bringing a group to Springfield to talk to city leaders about the Mars and economic development.
“Things are picking up everywhere,” he said.
The Mars also now offers gift cards which can be used at the box office, the concession stand and to purchase tickets online.
“We’re excited about our new gift cards,” Deadwyler said.
Through the first three months, the Mars had sold 4,300 tickets to events, and approximately 4,500 people have attended a movie, performance or event at the theatre.
“Those are great numbers,” Deadwyler said.