Friday, May 12, 2006

March 2006 Update

The post below was taken directly from an update communication that was sent out in mid-March. It followed directly after our initial formal presentation to the Arts and Science Council. I'm posting here for background.


It’s been a little over a month since our previous communication, and I’ve had a number of you write or call to ask for an update. Apologies for the low profile on this end, but we’ve been in “heads down” mode preparing for our initial presentation to members of the ASC staff and board. Additionally, I wanted to get a sense of ASC’s interest in the initiative before issuing another major communication. Having completed this significant step, we’re in a position to give you a better sense of how StageNEXT is being received.

The news on this front is very positive. As I’ve mentioned to many of you, the feedback I’ve received through our numerous discussions is that StageNEXT provides the right vision and operating model to bring culturally diverse, mainstream theatre to Charlotte. The feedback from ASC was consistent with this, and there is a high level of interest in exploring the idea further over the coming months. There are several areas of concern that we will be working to address, but my sense that we are heading in the right direction was confirmed.

This does mean making some adjustments to our short-term plan, specifically the timing of the March-April focus group sessions. It is our intent to fund these sessions via the generous support of several community members. Because of this, I want to be reasonably certain of ASC backing for this initiative prior to “pulling the trigger” on the focus group events. We have identified a highly capable consultant to facilitate the focus groups and are ready to move forward when the timing is right.

Thanks for your willingness to participate in these important events, and for holding open the March / April dates for so long. I know that all of you have a lot going on, and your commitment to this effort is truly appreciated.

Finally, a favor to ask: while we’re not currently in a position to hold our focus groups, the timing could not be better to build awareness for this initiative. As many of you know, ASC recently wrapped its Annual Fund drive and is ramping up the 2006-2007 Basic Operating Grant process. I’d like to ask that you think about reaching out to key influencers within the community who haven’t yet heard about StageNEXT, and help to spread the vision. Further, if you come into contact with ASC board members, don’t hesitate to let them know what’s going on. If there are people that you’d like me to talk with, please let me know; I’m more than happy to be involved. Understand that this is not a request for funds; rather, this is an opportunity to build awareness and generate positive buzz around our efforts. Thanks for your help in spreading the word.



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