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Some theatre supporters branded the shock closure ''reprehensible''.
University of Otago third-year theatre studies student Sarah Latta organised the meeting, which was attended by more than 50 people, including actors, playwrights, teachers and university and high school pupils.
Logan Park High School pupil Tyler Proctor said without a professional theatre in the city pupils would be ''struggling'' to meet the requirements of their NCEA drama courses.
Playwright Emily Duncan, visibly upset, said the decision was ''abhorrent''.
Fortune board of trustees chairwoman Haley van Leeuwen could not attend, but outlined the reason's for the theatre's closure in a statement.
They included the theatre's high weekly running cost and the fact since 2012 sales had been declining, with the exception of the 2017 year.
The reasons were met with anger from former board member Dame Elizabeth Hanan, who said the closure of the theatre was ''reprehensible'' and wanted to see the trust's financial records.
''What's the board actually done about involving the community [saying] 'Hey look, we are struggling'?'' she said.
Ms van Leeuwen said the trust's financial report would be presented at its general meeting on May 31.
If the theatre had appealed for financial help earlier, the consequences could have been not getting funding.
The theatre had had two ''failed fundraising events'' in the last six months, which had received a ''poor response from the community'', Ms van Leeuwen said.
The Fortune Theatre Trust has made a submission to the Dunedin City Council's draft 10-year- plan proposing an arts hub in the former Sammy's venue.
However Dame Elizabeth said it was a ''pie in the sky'' notion and the theatre should start looking at using existing venues.
''It's all very well for the Dunedin City Council to say 'Well, we are going to do this that and the other thing, maybe this year, next year, sometime, never,'' she said.
Among other ideas suggested by the audience was having a profit-sharing theatre model, and community housing for people involved in the arts.
One speaker wondered whether the Fortune could be included in the council's plans for the waterfront in the long-term.
Ms Van Leeuwen said she wanted to make it very clear that the council's plan for Sammy's and the closure of the Fortune Theatre were separate issues.
The theatre trust wanted to see Dunedin theatre continue, whether or not it was under the Fortune brand, she said.
Cr Aaron Hawkins assured the meeting there would be a future for professional theatre in Dunedin.
Ms Latta said she would put the ideas generated to the Fortune trust.