If you’ve ever vacationed on Long Beach Island, chances are you’ve been to the Surflight Theatre to see either a great play, concert, or comedy show. I’ve performed there many times. All those great performances could be coming to an abrupt end, though. 

Starlight Theatre

Now after 65 years, the Surflight is facing the possibility of closing if they don’t get some money fast.  Here is a letter written by R Andrew Watts Chairman of the Surflight Board of Trustees:

Surflight Theatre is embarking on an urgent campaign to immediately secure its financial future and preserve this historic LBI landmark institution.

The Island community is probably familiar with all of the challenges Surflight has confronted and has strived to overcome in the last five years.

In 2010 the theater’s board announced that $500,000 was needed or the theater would close. Through the generosity of our community, $350,000 was raised and Surflight remained open. However, the theater did not raise the full foundational resources to make it a thriving arts organization, which led to its bankruptcy in 2011.

On the heels of the bankruptcy, in 2012 the theater suffered a fire. Later that year Superstorm Sandy devastated the campus. Like many other Island businesses, insurance proceeds and FEMA reimbursements were far below replacement costs.  So, like other businesses, we made ends meet by using operating cash that, given normal conditions, would have been used to build our cash reserves.

We hear consistently from patrons and donors who tell us how pleased they are to see that their ticket purchases and donations have helped advance the theater to this stage – now in its 65th year.

It is this support that underpins over $400,000 of annual facility operating costs for Surflight’s five aging buildings. It is also this support that underwrites the cost of producing quality shows like “Les Miserables” and “A Chorus Line”  costs that increase each year.

Mounting a 2015 season and beyond that offer the exciting productions Surflight audiences expect can only be accomplished with an investment in the theater. We need to raise $600,000, half of which must be secured and spent in support of operations by Monday, January 26th, 2015. The other half must be secured by March 2015 to launch next year’s season.

As a result, the Surflight Board of Trustees is fully committed, both strategically and financially, to meet the challenge of rising expenses through collaborations and partnerships, exploring additional uses of the facility, strategic show selection and most importantly enhancing the fundraising organization that is focused on securing increased annual grants, corporate sponsorships and personal donations.

We need your help! Please visit our website, surflight.org,  for information on how to donate.

Thank you for the support you have given us in the past and for your support going forward.

R. Andrew Watts, chairman

Surflight Board of Trustees


To learn more about the Surflight and how to donate, click here.