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Helper will resume Rio Theatre control

Sun Advocate associate editor

With no apparent hard feelings on either side, the Helper City Council has decided to terminate its contract with the city's Arts Council for management of the Rio Theatre. The city is now looking for a way to restructure the operations and promotion of the facility, with the council leaning toward an advisory board patterned after the Mining and Railroad Museum and city library.

About a year and a half ago, the city turned the theatre keys over to the Arts Council. Members of that council included people with experience in stage direction and performances. However, this same council is also tasked with organizing, promoting and raising funds for the city's major tourism event - the annual Helper Arts and Music Festival - and other visual arts activities.

"I don't think anybody considers it a failure," commented Mayor Dean Armstrong on the management agreement. "It ran for a year and did bring in professional productions."

By splitting off the theatre from the visual arts and music group, the city will have to act as the grantee for funds and donations.

If the council opts to establish a board, it may also have to enact an ordinance for the purpose after the first of the new year.

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