5 Things to Know: Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte Needs a Home
IN LIGHT of the beloved Actor's Theatre of Charlotte's search for a new home, we’ve put together a primer about who they are, how we got here, and the next step.
1. Yes. Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte currently has no venue.
Last summer, their building on Stonewall Street was announced to be headed for demolition, clearing the way for uptown apartments and retail. The company’s leadership had to act quickly, and for a time, it looked like an old Belmont factory on Louise Avenue would be it. Yet, just as the lease on Stonewall Street was about to run out, another announcement: The Belmont relocation plan is no more. While they had a letter of intent, the company never came to terms on a lease with Mill Village Partners, developer of the former factory.
2. The company is a staple of the city’s cultural scene.
The 28th season is planned for this fall, with more than 135 shows already produced. The last dozen years have been spent in its second ward location. The company has brought more than $8 million for the economy in that 12-year timeframe, it says. And the professional company is the only one left in the area that produces off-Broadway-quality shows for adults.
3. We've already seen multiple, similar companies close since 2005.
The previous one was Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, a NoDa-based company that closed in 2014 after its final show, a production of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries. Organizers cited financial woes and attendance issues, after a 24-year history of producing progressive and elaborate shows. Nine years prior, Charlotte Repertory Theatre closed its doors, naming similar issues as CAST. That theater garnered national attention for a production of Angels in America in the late 1990s, which saw several protesters and political backlash that resulted in the gutting of arts funding in the city and eventual restoration.
CAST performed Angels in America during its final season, with both no protest and unfortunately, small attendance.
4. The upcoming season is full of shows that both lovers of Broadway and casual theater-goers could enjoy.
American Idiot is adapted from the Green Day record of the same name, and the original Broadway run nabbed two Tony Awards. Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy tells the coming-of-age story of a gay, African-American man in a collection of satirical scenes. Meredith Friedman's The Luckiest People, The Toxic Avenger, and Stupid F@#%ING Bird are also among the planned slate. For theater-goers who already invested for the seasons, Actor’s Theatre says, “If you have purchased a Flex Pass for Season 28, those funds are restricted to the production of the season.”
5. They want your help.
“Advocate to our city, county, and community leaders and tell them why ATC is important to you and to our community,” the company says. And they’ve even provided a sample letter. Find it below:
I write to you today as a member of the great city of Charlotte, NC and as a concerned citizen of the theater arts community.
I would like to bring to your attention that this city is in grave danger of losing yet another theatre company.
The property which has been home to Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has been sold (to make way for even more uptown condominiums). The company very much needs assistance in securing and relocating to a new building.
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has been producing in the area for 27 seasons, the last 12 of which have been in the second ward area of uptown Charlotte. The company has afforded me and many other citizens the opportunity to either attend or be a part of over 135 professionally produced shows. The quality of work and the commitment of the company to the City of Charlotte and her peoples have been exemplary. Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has an honored and very well respected national image, which has done much to improve the national viewpoint of theatre in the region. And as a financial catalyst, they have injected the local economy with over $8 million over the last 12 years alone.
It seems to me that a theatrical performing arts company with an impeccable performance and financial record would be regarded as an asset to this city. And I would like to ask you to personally look into what can be done to prevent the City of Charlotte from losing its largest, most successful professional theatre company for adults. If Actor’s Theatre closes, it will be the third theatre company to close in this city in recent history and make Charlotte the only city of her size not to have an adult professional company.
I am a proud citizen of this city and all it has to offer, but losing yet another theatre company is not good for the arts, not good for the people, and certainly not an acceptable way to show the residents of this city, state and the rest of the country that we believe in and support a strong theatrical presence here in Charlotte.
I look forward to what you and your staff can accomplish in this matter.