Friday, May 12, 2006

April 2006 Update

The post below was taken directly from an update communication that was sent out in mid-April. It discusses our upcoming work with Executive Service Corps. I'm posting here for background.


We seem to be settling into a monthly schedule of these updates on our efforts to establish a new professional theatre here in Charlotte. While I hadn’t expected to be communicating so regularly so soon, I am excited that our progress warrants these regular communications. As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The most important item to report is the commitment of the Arts and Science Council (ASC) to provide technical assistance funds in support of our planning and organizational development efforts. ASC will be covering the cost of our work with Executive Service Corps (ESC: to assist us in finalizing and validating the business plan and the “incubator” approach within the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Our work with ESC should provide a substantial case for approaching would-be donors, as it will further explore and assess the sustainability of the new company. As I have shared with many of you, the majority of people to whom I have talked have been “cautiously optimistic”: optimistic regarding the StageNEXT vision and opportunity, cautious about the pos sibility of success in our current cultural environment.

Regarding the focus groups previously discussed, we will be working with ESC to further define our approach to these important events. Look for more information in next month’s update.

While ASC’s overall investment through ESC is fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, it does confirm our prior impression that there is a high level of interest in our proposed approach and leadership. Thank you for sharing the StageNEXT vision and for putting in a “good word” for us with your fellow community leaders. Your efforts are paying off—so don’t stop now! Please keep spreading the word.

One thing that has become clear is that our desire to begin producing in Spring 2007 should be reassessed. While there was overall support for this approach, the level of risk in potentially missing the dates has caused us to re-evaluate. The last thing we want to do (especially in this environment) is to publicly announce dates that we aren’t 100% certain we can hit. Therefore, we are revising our plan to begin producing in Fall 2007. This gives us an additional 6 months to put everything in place for a successful launch. I know that you may be disappointed by this decision; however, I hope you’ll agree that a pragmatic approach to timing is appropriate.



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