At its meeting on Tuesday evening, the Twin City Stage (TCS) Board of Directors agreed to pursue immediate and long-term solutions to a financial crisis the organization is facing, which could be the final blow to this revered icon of the Triad arts community.
For decades, Twin City Stage has received a significant annual operational grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County which has enabled the company to meet crucial production and operational expenses. Effective Oct. 1, TCS received a cut in grant assistance and a change in rental structure from the Arts Council.
“Like many community theatres around the country, TCS has seen its season ticket sales and individual contributions decline over the past several years,” said Board President Don Pocock. “This reality, combined with a substantial reduction in the operational grant, requires us to raise more of our own operating funds immediately – and on a long-term basis – if we expect to continue to exist.
“Losing more than 10 percent of our annual budget in one large cut, coupled with a new rent structure, forces a new organizational plan,” Pocock said. “If we are unable to get substantial public support, then this season could be our last.”
To help offset the cut, the Arts Council has offered a matching grant, up to $30,000, to TCS. “Donations are beginning to come in,” Pocock said. “The hope is that more members of the community will join in, especially during this holiday season, as people make their end-of-year charitable contributions.”
Plans to streamline the company’s costs will be announced following Board meetings early in the year and will likely include new ideas in programming, condensed office space, and changes in organizational structure. TCS has already reached out to the local business community for potential increased support.
Twin City Stage, formerly The Little Theatre of Winston Salem, is Winston-Salem’s oldest community theatre, and provides large scale theatrical performances to more audience members than any other theatrical organization in town. For over eighty years, its productions have garnered critical praise and long-term, loyal members. The organization has offered acting classes to children for years and, with its merger with the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem, added a series of school performances and summer camps to its production roster.
Those wishing to make a donation to the theatre can do so by visiting www.TwinCityStage.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” button, by mailing a check to Twin City Stage, 610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, or by calling the TCS funding hotline 336-777-6437. In addition to monetary donations, the theatre is happy to accept gifts of stocks and estate bequests.
For further information, please visit www.TwinCityStage.org or contact TCS Executive Director Maureen Daly at (336) 748-0857 x202.