Phoenix kids theater struggling with finances could close

PHOENIX - For the past five years, the Junior Drama Club Academy has called a small rental space near 7th Avenue and Camelback home.

Now, the theater, created by Angel Arrendondo, may be forced to close because of money problems.

"We really are in the 11th hour," Arrendondo said.

Arrendondo started the theater program in his backyard and then moved into the building. He and volunteers helped build the walls and stage. The curtains are even hand-made.

"This is for kids who normally wouldn't have been able to participate in theater," he said.  "You see kids who come in and say 'I could never do that,' then they just blossom."

The kids come from all income brackets and areas. One student, 13-year-old Dylan Williams has learning disabilities.

"Other theater programs wouldn't take him," said his mother Laragene.  "The specific thing that I see is his ability to interact with other kids and have a place where he feels comfortable."

The Academy has programs for kids and adults. There is a $90 yearly fee for joining and then the kids contribute $4 for each session. The rest of the program is funded by donations which are very limited.

Arrendondo tells ABC15 they are behind in the rent.  He said the landlords are doing what they can to work with him, but they are at a point where some kind of financial agreement must be made in the coming days to save the school.

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