The Gift Of Theatre

The Hound of the Baskervilles runs through Sept. 4. It is directed by Neil Brookshire and features an all-female cast, the first show in the 2022/23 season. Photo credit: The Liberty Theatre Company

SV Museum of Art gifts historic Hailey landmark to The Liberty Theatre Co.

By Eric Valentine

The Hound of the Baskervilles, directed by Neil Brookshire, is reinvented by The Liberty Theatre Company as a sublimely hilarious adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic – one that is guaranteed to having audiences of all ages howling like the fabled hound itself. The play runs through Sept. 4. Photo credit: The Liberty Theatre Company

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, so the old saying goes. Unless that gift is an old theater that will cost $1.2 million to fix and require a $500,000 endowment to keep it fixed.

Earlier this year, the Sun Valley Museum of Art (SVMoA) and The Liberty Theatre Company (TLTC) reached a final agreement gifting The Liberty Theater building to the Hailey nonprofit. Currently, the group lacks sufficient resources to cover the $1.7 million of total costs, so a fundraising campaign is under way. Fueling the high price is significant internal renovation needed to satisfy post-pandemic industry standards, as well as structural renovation due to common aging. And like any good play, fueling the drama is a ticking clock—specifically, TLTC must raise the $1.7 million by Dec. 31 of this year.

What follows are frequently asked questions for a project of this scale and TLTC’s answers to them:

Q. What is the Relight the Liberty campaign and how does it differ from the Company campaign?

A. TLTC is currently operating two fundraising campaigns. The first is our Support Live Theatre campaign, to fund the daily operations of the company. Our initial objective for this endeavor is $300,000. This will be devoted to supporting the cost of staff, operations, and productions.

A. The second is our Relight the Liberty campaign to raise $1,700,000 for the Liberty Theater building itself. SVMoA has generously offered to donate the Liberty building to TLTC, and we would very much like to be able to accept this offer so we may keep this theater as our home.

Q. What exactly will the $1,700,000 cover?

A. There is much work needed for the building, including fortifying roof structure, fortifying walls, re-roofing and bringing the ventilation system up to post-pandemic standards. The repair work requires $1,200,000. Our total fundraising effort is for $1,700,000, as we hope to raise $500,000 for a building endowment for ongoing maintenance.

Q. In the event that the $1,700,000 isn’t raised, what will happen to donations made to the Relight campaign?

A. In the event we are unable to raise $1,700,000, donors will be able to re-allocate funds to the TLTC operations campaign, or we will be able to have the donation returned.

Q. Who made the appraisal on the building, and will potential donors have access to these appraisal documents?

A. Local architect and TLTC board treasurer Thomas Andrews performed a review of the building, including structural engineering recommendations, and provided a report of the work needed to be completed on the building. This information is available upon request via a prospectus. Please contact us via the “Contact Us” page on our website if you are interested in acquiring a TLTC prospectus.

Q. Describe TLTC’s partnership with Spur Community Foundation and what it means for tax purposes for potential donors.

A. Our application for tax-exempt status has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service. We are officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations to TLTC are tax deductible to the full extent provided by the law. Tax ID # 87-1252300. Additionally, we will remain in partnership with the Spur Community Foundation for any who wish to donate to TLTC. The Spur Foundation is a 501(c)(3), and any donations provided via Spur will be 100% tax exempt.

Q. What kinds of fundraising are being planned?

A. We intend to hold direct meetings with supporters of the performing arts, both in person and via Zoom. We will be performing “warm” calls by telephone to known supporters of performing arts as well as hosting development events throughout the year in conjunction with our season.

Q. How will the Liberty Theater space be utilized once responsibility is taken? What sort of events might the community look forward to attending at the Liberty?

A. The Liberty Theater building will be home to The Liberty Theatre Company if we are able to raise needed funding for the building. We will utilize the building to perform our productions and provide quality, professional-level theatre for the Wood River Valley. Further, we will make the building available for outside productions that would generate rental income to support TLTC.

Q. If the funds are raised, what is the amount of time renovations will take? When can audiences return to the Liberty Theater?

A. Our estimated time for repairs is one year. Given the complexities of current supply chain issues and availability of materials and labor, this could potentially extend to 18 months.

Q. What makes TLTC unique, and why should the community be excited to support the company?

A. The level of professional talent within TLTC is quite unique. We have continued our relationships with directors, actors and actresses locally, and we are very fortunate to have established artists who interacted with Company of Fools, as well as newer talent that is fresh and carries a unique perspective.

Q. Will you be offering opportunities for local auditions?

A. Indeed, we intend to utilize our seasoned veterans, and also create opportunities for the local community and beyond.

Theater Timeline

Built in the 1930s as a moviehouse

Bought by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore in the early ’90s, and restored as a performing arts venue

Company of Fools started performing in 1996 until late 2020

In 2013 the theatre company that occupied the space merged with the Sun Valley Museum of Arts

The theatre company was gifted the building by Moore and Willis in 2017


The Liberty Theatre Company is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations to TLTC are tax deductible to the full extent provided by the law. Tax ID # 87-1252300

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