Citing “insufficient financial resources,” Georgia Shakespeare is cancelling its production of “Henry V,” scheduled to open Oct. 1 at the Conant Performing Arts Center on Oglethorpe University’s campus.
“We obviously regret that we will be unable to go forward with the show, but given our current financial status and our inability to secure strategic funding for operating capital, we felt it simply not possible to do so,” said board chair Daniel Norris in a press release. “We regret the inconvenience to our patrons, supporters, and to the artists committed to working on the show.”
The Georgia Shakespeare board and staff plans to evaluate the theatre company’s long-term direction, providing a recommendation by early October.
This year Georgia Shakespeare has pursued two key strategies. First, it reinvested in its artistic programming and its patrons’ experience by expanding and improving the artistic selections for 2014 and utilizing capital grants to renovate the picnic grounds outside the theater. Second, the company initiated a fundraising campaign to raise $750,000 in operating capital from strategic funders to eliminate debt and create a working capital reserve.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to the second pillar of our strategy this year, we have been unable to secure any significant strategic gifts for operating capital to improve the balance sheet and create the working capital reserves necessary for healthy operations,” said Managing Director Jennifer Bauer-Lyons.
She said that the company currently has $343,000 in debt. “We have used operating money to pay that debt,” she said, leaving the Georgia Shakespeare with no cash to put the show on. She said that the $750,000 fundraising campaign would not only eliminate the debt, but would give the company a cash reserve fund to help with periods of low income.
In 2011, the company conducted a “Save Georgia Shakespeare” campaign, raising more than $550,000 from more than 2,000 donors. That enabled the theatre to continue operating, but it did not eliminate its debt.
“During the next few weeks, we will continue our ongoing conversations with all the stakeholders in the community in an attempt to identify a solution to our fundraising needs and determine our on-going viability ” Norris said.
Those wishing to help Georgia Shakespeare can make donations to help meet existing obligations at www.gashakespeare.org. Patrons who have purchased tickets to “Henry V” should check that website for more information.