The North Carolina Theatre Files For Chapter 11 & Suspends 2024 Season

The venue cites the pandemic as one of the driving factors behind the decision.

By: Feb. 23, 2024
The North Carolina Theatre Files For Chapter 11 & Suspends 2024 Season
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Following several attempts to secure sufficient donations and funding to continue operations, the North Carolina Theatre (NCT) - a cornerstone of Raleigh's cultural scene for the past 40 years, has announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be suspending its productions for the remainder of the 2024 season.

This decision, driven by a series of financial setbacks worsened by the pandemic, is poised to significantly impact the local economy and jeopardize numerous jobs, both artistic and administrative, due to the loss of Raleigh’s largest professional theatre company.

Situated in the Martin Marietta Performing Arts Center in downtown Raleigh, NCT has gained national recognition for its contribution to the performing arts in North Carolina. However, like many of its peers across the country, it has not been immune to the financial pressures that have increased in the wake of COVID-19, including soaring production costs and a notable decrease in audience attendance.

Christine Duboc, Press Representative for NCT, shared insights into the difficult decision, stating, "The Board of Directors, with heavy hearts, has concluded that seeking Chapter 11 protection and pausing our 2024 season is the only viable pathway to ensure the theatre’s future. This step is about rebuilding and revitalizing NCT for the long term, preserving our role as a beacon of professional performing arts in North Carolina."

The pandemic has dealt a harsh blow to live theatre, with NCT experiencing significant challenges such as the loss of sponsorships, a decline in subscription sales, and a slow return of audiences to live events. Despite vigorous efforts to secure additional funding and reduce expenses, the financial realities have led to this moment of reevaluation.

"The extraordinary efforts made by the NCT staff and board to navigate these turbulent times have been commendable," Duboc added. "However, the reality we face means we must now focus on securing substantial public funding to support our path to recovery."

In the midst of this restructuring, NCT is committed to continuing the operations of the NCT Conservatory, emphasizing the importance of nurturing new talent and maintaining its educational programs in acting, dancing, and voice performance.

Looking forward, NCT aims to reemerge as a more resilient organization, with plans to produce more cost-effective productions in the smaller, more intimate setting of the A.J. Fletcher Theatre. This strategic pivot is hoped to blend the talents of professional Broadway actors with local performers, ensuring the theatre’s legacy continues.

Duboc expressed hope for the future, saying, "We are deeply grateful for the support of our patrons and the wider community. As we work through this reorganization, we ask for your patience and understanding. Our goal is to return stronger, continuing to enrich North Carolina’s cultural landscape."

The theatre also plans to address the concerns of ticket holders for the canceled shows, and is exploring options to offer credits as part of the restructuring process.