Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On The Demise Of The NC Shakespeare Festival

Some will know that the NC Shakespeare Festival is no more. Today I received a letter as to why that came to be:

"Here's what no one will say too loudly: Triad Stage (with the eager backing of its major donors) killed the NC Shakespeare Festival, not the economy.

NC Shakes subsisted for years off of the proceeds it would bring in from its version of 'The Christmas Carol.'  The moment Triad Stage got its sea legs it went behind the backs of the arts community and created its own version in direct competition with NC Shakes.

The big issue is not the competition, but the way in which it was done - behind close doors, with wealthy donors who had long supported NC Shakes jumping ship to get in bed with the new kid in town. 

But, much like the Arts Center, a few rich families/individuals wanted a theatre company they could call their own, Rich and Preston were looking for patrons, and bing bang boom - Greensboro got a new neighbor that has been a real mixed bag.

There's some REALLY good stuff Triad has done for the local arts scene, I don't want to pretend there isn't.  But when I learned about the shakedown of NC Shakes it left a real bitter taste in my mouth (and the mouths of a lot of theatre old timers in town).

They also killed the Broach Theatre, but that's another story.

Anyway - just thought you might appreciate the context."

My reply:

"Indeed, with the spoils being so small one knife in the back can have a disastrous effect. Had the economy been booming there might have been somewhere else for the Shakes to turn but as it is Triad Stage got all that was left. And let's not forget how much money went to GPAC that could have gone to Shakes."

May it now be recorded in history.