For Additional Information Contact: BoardofDirectors@TriadStage.org
TRIAD STAGE BOARD ANNOUNCES CLOSURE
Greensboro, NC – After 20 seasons and more than 140 mainstage productions, Triad Stage is permanently closing its doors.
In March, the Triad Stage Board of Trustees announced that the remaining productions planned for the current season would be suspended as the Board explored the best possible outcomes for the theater. “Despite the best efforts of the Board and a small and extremely dedicated staff, as well as the evaluation of numerous options, we have concluded that the operation of Triad Stage is unsustainable. The Board has determined that the only responsible option remaining is to liquidate our assets and dissolve the organization,” said Board Co-Chair Sarah Saint.
The decision marks the end of an effort spanning more than 25 years that began with the aspiration to bring live, professional theater to a rejuvenated downtown Greensboro. “We are extremely grateful to the many community members who embraced the vision of Greensboro hosting a regional professional theatre in its downtown, and who made financial investments over many years to support it,” said Board member Margaret Arbuckle.
The ticket office will remain open to support the Eastern Musical Festival through its 2023 season, and the Board has begun implementation of a plan to dispose of remaining assets and resolve liabilities. In the coming weeks, ticket holders will be contacted directly regarding outstanding ticket credits. Triad Stage has assets valued considerably in excess of its liabilities and, although the liquidation process will require some patience, it is the organization’s intention and expectation to satisfy liabilities to ticket holders and other creditors in full.
Board Co-Chair Cassandra Williams said, “We are devastated by this outcome. Triad Stage has been key to revitalizing downtown Greensboro and an artistic refuge for writers, performers, and theatergoers. For 20 years this organization entertained audiences, premiered new work, and introduced schoolchildren to the experience of live theater. We should never lose sight of the good work that has been done here, and we will deeply miss our role in Greensboro’s arts community.”
Triad Stage is the latest in a series of long-running regional theaters unable to sustain post-pandemic operations. Theaters including the Lyric in Atlanta; the Westchester Broadway (after 46 years); the Old Creamery Theater (after 50 years of operations and Iowa’s oldest professional theater); the San Diego Rep (after 46 years); and, closer to home, the Actors Theater of Charlotte, all have recently closed. Even theaters benefiting from multi-million-dollar endowments, such as the Long Wharf Theater in Connecticut, have been forced to make radical changes to their operating model, including the shedding of their physical space, in order to survive. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced in April that it needed to raise $2.5 million in four short months, $1.5 million of it in the first two, for its season to go on.
Triad Stage has long experienced financial stresses. By the time the pandemic forced its closure in 2020, the theater was carrying an accumulated deficit of $1.5 million. During its two-and-a-half-year closure, the organization made significant changes to its operating model, including a shift in artistic focus to include newer productions and more diverse storytelling, as well as a reduced operating budget. It also disposed of its offsite scene shop as part of the effort to address its longstanding deficit.
Still, the attempt to reopen against a long history of fiscal challenges and a headwind of post-pandemic uncertainty was an ambitious one. “The budget for Triad Stage’s 20th season was based on revenue assumptions we thought were conservative,” said Board Co-Chair Deborah Hayes. Unfortunately, the experience fell well short, with houses averaging less than half full over the course of the first two mainstage productions, and significantly reduced levels of contributed revenue.
Pressure on the revenue side was exacerbated by dramatic increases in the costs of production. Additionally, the downsizing of Triad Stage’s staff caused increased reliance on professional contractors, which have become more expensive and difficult to find.
“After we took stock of the first two productions, the prospect of launching the final show of the current season, and the commitments necessary to begin the next one, we concluded that the barriers were insurmountable,” Hayes said. “We are proud of the two shows we produced this season. It was an honor to premiere Mike Wiley’s Rebellious and tell that story unique to Greensboro. The Revolutionists was provocative and filled with compelling performances,” Hayes continued. “Our Executive Director, Kate Holland, and our Artistic Director, Sarah Hankins, as well as the rest of our staff, could not possibly have done more. The Board directed time, energy, and personal financial resources at a level none of us expected when we signed on for this volunteer commitment. We made a valiant effort, but the responsible course now is to sunset as gracefully as possible and find new ways to support a thriving arts community for the Triad.”
“I know that I speak for the entire Board and for the organization as a whole when I say that Triad Stage is grateful to our patrons and donors, to the artists and artisans whose work we were privileged to share with this community, and to an amazing staff that consistently made it all happen,” Saint added. “We have also appreciated institutional support over the years from the city, from the Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, the North Carolina Arts Council, and a host of other institutional supporters. We will do our best to honor each of you by conducting our final chapter in a manner worthy of that support.”
Complete details of the theater’s liquidation plan are being finalized and will be released over the summer. In the meantime, further questions may be addressed to Samantha Brumbaugh at Ivey, McClellan, Siegmund, Brumbaugh & McDonough LLP.