Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

T-minus 23 hrs and counting!

This time tomorrow I will be on an airplane somewhere between Charlotte and Philly, where I then catch a plane to my first "official" WPBT event, otherwise known as National Degenerate Lampoon's Vegas Vacation! Woo-Hoo!

To say that workplace productivity all over the poker blogosphere has been limited would be an understatement on the level of "Teddy Kennedy drinks a little," or "G.W. isn't the most intelligent President we've ever had." There you go, equal opportunity politico-bashing.

But on the theatre front, it's kinda fucked up.

Less than a year after moving out of the warehouse where Off-Tryon was birthed to join Barebones Theatre Group in the Southend Perfoming Arts Center (translation: different warehouse on the other side of town), we've lost our lease and have to be out by the end of the year.


The landlord isn't interested in having another theatre in the building, even for more money, so we've got to load out all our shit. Again. And uproot our audience. Again. And reschedule our season to fit in the open spaces in our new temporary home. Again. Frustrated would be an understatement. Pissed to the nines would be an understatement. Feeling a little thrown under the bus is more like it.

So after 5 1/2 seasons, I have a theatre company whose future is now a little in limbo. We do have a company in town that will let us perform in their studio theatre for two shows this spring for a nominal fee, but now we have to worry about things like our audience finding us again, after we saw a big drop in audience from the last move. I'm not sure we have the critical mass to manage another move, and not sure that I have the energy to devote to recreating the company. Again.

So we're going to perform the last two weeks of our current show, pack all our shit up, and go regroup. Maybe we become a nomadic company for a couple of years, renting stages and getting our business-side ducks in a row. Maybe we vastly reduce the number of shows that we produce. Maybe we fold. I hope that last isn't the option we choose, but we'll see. I'm less than thrilled at the prospects of upfitting yet another warehouse just to be thrown out after a few years, so I think that whatever space we move into, we need to own, or at least have sometime of ironclad renewal policy.

And then there's the question of whether or not Charlotte even wants an independent theatre scene, which I can't answer. Our major professional theatre folded early this year when they couldn't make ends meet, and they weren't the first theatre to go under in recent years. It's interesting that we're a city that has spent almost $100 Million in the past few years on new theatre buildings for the University, Community College and Children's Theatre, but the companies themselves can't afford to inhabit those venues. Attendance sucks all over town, small companies and community theatres alike are struggling, and I don't know if I've got it in me to beat my head against that brick wall for another 5 years.

Any city out there want a kick-ass independent theatre company to move in and produce thought-provoking, issue-oriented theatre? Have light board, can travel.


JasonSpaceman said...

Come on down to Nashville. It's a pretty arts-friendly town. Let me know if you want someone to show you around.

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