Sioux Empire Community Theatre gets new life

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The Sioux Empire Community Theatre is finding new life. The group was on the verge of shutting down for good, when big changes were made.

A little more than a year ago, the Sioux Empire Community Theatre was close to shutting down forever.

“We were in pretty tough shape and we were not making a lot of money on our shows. As a matter of fact, we were losing money,” said SECT President, Rick Weiland.

That’s when the Board of Directors decided to make one last push to get things on the right track. They looked at the books, cut back on the number of shows each year, and found new sponsors.

“We were able to pay off almost $100,000 in short-term debt. We got money in our checking account and we have hired a new executive director,” said Weiland.

That spot has been filled by Robin Byrne. Early in his career Byrne worked with theatre companies in the United Kingdom.

He then switched to a role leading Xerox in Northern England, before starting his own business. That was so successful, he was given a special invitation to the U.S..

“People ask me how come? I usually say witness protection, but I was invited by USD School of Business to introduce a program I developed,” said Byrne.

That program helps non-profits become sustainable. He was even nominated for a United Nations Peace Award. He’s bringing that knowledge, and a passion for theatre, to this new job.

“I can see the audiences here getting bigger and bigger, and especially when word of mouth gets around it. The sheer professionalism that goes around on this stage. I think we’ve got a very, very bright looking future,” said Byrne

“It takes sponsorships. It takes private donations. And we were real fortunate that people in the community stepped up in the last year and helped sponsor some of the shows we put on,” said Weiland.  

Byrne says they are looking for more sponsors for shows this year, and in the future.

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