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      Financial problems force Columbia theatre to close

      Columbia TMs Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts will be temporarily closed for the month of August and part of September because of a lack of money.

      The announcement came Wednesday morning from Missouri Theatre Board President Christina George.

      George said her board was forced to lay off their remaining staff members and consider a new contract with their symphony conductor.

      The temporary closure allows board members to regroup and seek new management strategies and options.

      Theatre officials said they are optimistic as they engage community leaders for a plan to move forward.

      So many people have worked for so many years. They have given their time, their money and their expertise," George said. "We TMre here! Let TMs not forget we have the building. It TMs no good to us unless we have people in it. I think that the community, if they know that the leadership is there and that we are being honest and that we are working hard, they are going to support us.

      The Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts has a debt of more than $2 million because of a recent restoration project.

      Theatre officials also face an upcoming court decision involving a $400,000 dispute over construction costs.