Shakespeare seeks rebirth in coming year
The N.C. Shakespeare Festival, which earlier this summer suspended operations amid a fiscal crisis, has received enough recent support to mount a campaign and try to resume full stage productions starting next year.
Called “Once More Unto the Breach,” the fundraising campaign aims to raise more than $100,000 and return the nonprofit to full operation by the 2014-15 fiscal year. The festival, based in High Point, announced July 30 that it was suspending operations and canceling its fall MainStage production of “Macbeth” and holiday production of “A Christmas Carol.”
In a recent statement, the festival says it has “limited its operations for this fiscal year to programming that includes conducting its Shakespeare To Go statewide spring tour, continuing its new youth theatre program and offering camps, classes and seminars intended for teachers and students.”
If the fundraising campaign turns out as well as expected, the Shakespeare Festival could resume as many as two fall stage productions and a resumption of “A Christmas Carol” in the 2014-15 fiscal year, said Meredith Stephens, assistant managing director.
“The longer range goals include a MainStage production that would also tour around the state,” Stephens told The High Point Enterprise on Monday. “That would be something we haven’t done in many years, and would help the production pay for itself. It just opens up markets of theater-goers.”
The festival also would seek to expand its youth theater to put together large cast shows that would be produced at the High Point Theatre, Stephens said.
“Because of its programming over the past 36 years, NCShakes has become one of the most recognized arts education resources in our state. We are reshaping the company to sustain this brand,” said Ashley Hedgecock, chairwoman of the festival board.
Despite the festival’s financial difficulties, Stephens said, “never at any time did we think we were finished.”
Since the announcement at the end of July, the festival has received enough private donations to meet obligations with “most of our regular payables,” Stephens said. The festival currently has the equivalent of three full-time and three-part positions.
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The N.C. Shakespeare Festival has launched a fundraising campaign to restore productions after suspending operations at the end of July. For more information call the festival at 841-2273 or visit its website, www.ncshakes.org.
The festival will present two fundraising events later this year. “Jack,” a one-man show about Jack the Ripper, created by and featuring Michael Huie, will play at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at NCShakes Spirit Center in High Point. “A Christmas Carol Unplugged” will be presented in a readers’ theater format at the High Point Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. and 2 p.m. Dec. 22.