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Actor's Theatre Raises More Than $71,000 From Supporters, Will Stage Another Season

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Within a week of telling supporters it had nearly run out of funds and might have to cease operations, Actor's Theatre of Charlotte says it has received $71,665 worth of donations, and the local theatre company will confidently announce its next season in the coming days.

Credit Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
A graphic shows how many donations ATC has received in the past week.

"We're feeling super confident, super optimistic," General Manager Laura Rice said in a video posted late Monday, saying since the theatre issued its dire plea last Wednesday, "we have received just a total outpouring of support and love and kindness."

Even so, the theatre company is hoping to continue raising money, with the goal of topping $200,000 according to a fundraising tracker posted on the group's social media accounts.

In a previous interview with WFAE, the group's executive director, Chip Decker, said the funds would be used to replenish the group's cash reserves, which have been depleted over the past four years as the theatre has fought to reestablish itself after losing its longtime home on Stonewall Street.

The group was forced from that location in 2016 when the property owner sold to apartment builders, Decker said, and afterward, the group tried unsuccessfully to set up in other properties around the city, until finally settling into the Hadley Theatre at Queens University in January 2018.

The moves took a heavy financial toll on the local theatre, Decker said, and it had reached the point where if the theatre were to stage another season, it could plunge itself into a deficit, something Decker said he would not do.

The funding shortfall was not tied to voter's rejection of a proposed sales tax hike in Mecklenburg County last November, which would have directed millions of dollars to the struggling Arts and Science Council, which helps fund many local arts groups, Decker said.

He added he was confident supporters would step in and buoy the theatre with donations, allowing them to move forward with their next season and avoid having to close the curtain on the 31-year-old theatre company.

For now, his prediction has proved true. The theatre thanked supporters for their "tremendous" response in an email late Tuesday, and said it was now "confidently planning" its next season, with plans to announce the upcoming shows later this week.

Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal