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5 Things to Know: Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte Announces Closing

...and four more stories from Sept. 18-24, 2022

Janeta Jackson sings into a microphone in a darkened jazz club setting while performing as Billie Holiday in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Grill' from Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
Janeta Jackson as Billie Holiday in ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Grill’ was one of many memorable performances to come out of Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte over its 33-year run. (Photo by Fenix Fotography)

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte Announces Closing

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte announced Monday that the company will cease all productions this fall following the upcoming run of Evil Dead: The Musical. Actor’s Theatre, which has hosted performances over the span of 33 years, is one of Charlotte’s oldest theatre companies. Their final run will go from Sept. 29-Oct. 30.

Executive Director Laura Rice released a statement on Monday about the closing: “Despite our best efforts, we are heartbroken that we have to bring down the curtain on such a rich history of professional theatre here.” 

Founded in 1989, Actor’s Theatre has aimed to produce shows that are bold and provocative. “Actor’s Theatre is the only professional theatre in the region that dedicates its entire programming to new works that are daring, offbeat and, yes, sometimes controversial,” reads the company’s mission statement.

Monday’s release listed multiple reasons that triggered the closing including disappointing ticket and subscription sales, the lingering effects of the pandemic and the recent revelation that the company would need to vacate Queens University’s Hadley Theater at the end of its current residency in 2023.

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte moved to The Barn in MoRa for a run of shows when indoor performances were still unsafe at Hadley Theater due to the pandemic in 2021. Pictured: Cast of ‘Rock of Ages.’ (Photo by Fenix Foto)

COVID-19 has had disastrous effects on the arts and it appears Actor’s Theatre is its latest victim. The company has struggled since resuming performances in 2021. 

Because of ATC’s signature brand of storytelling, Rice expects the company’s closing will leave an opening in Charlotte’s arts scene.

“For decades, we’ve been able to showcase Charlotte’s wide range of local talent, while providing a home for working artists to tell contemporary stories and entertain residents,” Rice wrote in Monday’s statement. “I hope ATC’s journey has made the path easier for another theatre company to fill the void we are leaving behind.”

Rice assured patrons that anyone with single tickets for performances dated after Oct. 30 will be refunded automatically. Season ticket holders will need to visit the company’s website to review their options. Rice emphasized that the company hopes to see all of ATC’s fans show up to the final run of performances scheduled for The Barn at MoRa. 

“We’re going out the only way we know how: by producing one last stellar theatre experience,” she wrote. 

ACC to Move Headquarters to CLT

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Board of Directors announced Tuesday it has selected Charlotte as the future home of the conference’s headquarters and operations. The ACC’s offices, and the 50 employees that work inside them, will be located in the Legacy Union complex in Uptown Charlotte, complete with a state-of-the-art gameday operations studio and modern production studio, according to a release from the city.

The ACC is a collegiate athletic conference with 15 member schools across 10 states that reside primarily along the East Coast. Founded in Greensboro 70 years ago, the conference sponsors 27 sports with nearly 10,000 student-athletes. 

According to an ACC release, criteria for the search “focused on, but was not limited to, location within the Eastern Time zone, population size with positive growth trends, growth and diversity of population, access to a large hub airport with effective accessibility to and from all ACC member schools, anticipated benefit to the overall ACC brand, potential synergies to existing and prospective partners and financial considerations.” 

The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are providing approximately $80,000 combined in incentives for the headquarters.

“After a comprehensive, inclusive and deliberate process, the Board decided that Charlotte – an amazing and vibrant community – not only meets, but exceeds, the needs of the ACC,” stated ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D, in the release. “Our new home will provide both known and unknown benefits to our student-athletes, member schools and conference office staff.” 

Organizations Rally Against Duke’s Carbon Plan

Organizations from around North Carolina gathered in Raleigh on Friday to rally against Duke Energy’s proposed Carolina’s Carbon Plan. The event preceded the continuation of North Carolina Utilities Commission’s (NCUC) expert hearings, which began on Sept. 13 and are expected to last several weeks. 

“Duke has had a monopoly on the energy field since its inception, often leaving out impacted voices and marginalized communities,” said Crystal Cavalier, cofounder of 7 Directions of Service, an indigenous-led North Carolina-based coalition. “N.C. needs to better work on a just transition to a regenerative energy and economy, and Duke Energy should be leading the way towards a livable climate future.”

Greenpeace activists dump coal ash in front of Bank of America, 10 years later they are protesting Duke Energy's Carbon Plan
Environmental activists protested Bank of America’s support for Duke Energy’s coal policy by dumping buckets of coal in front of their Uptown location nearly a decade ago. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

According to a release from Transform NC in the lead-up to the rally, Duke’s proposed plans for the NCUC relies too heavily on coal, gas, and unsustainable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions of the power sector by 70% by 2030 vs 2005 levels.

“The proposed plans slow-walks the deployment of renewable energy resources and is inadequate in terms of equity. Duke is also asking for an approval of all of their proposals, which could allow them to circumvent permitting requirements for their projects,” the release read. 

The coalition that rallied on Friday demanded that the NCUC dismiss Duke Energy’s proposed carbon plan and instead choose a plan that: 

    • Provides a clean energy transition, not one that includes nuclear energy, hydrogen, biogas, wood pellets, biofuel, or any “renewable energy” that creates more greenhouse gasses. 
    • Utilizes North Carolina’s full offshore wind potential. 
    • Requires partnering with labor unions. 
    • Allows for no new gas, oil, nuclear or coal-powered plants. 

Juveniles Arrested for School Bomb Threats

The Concord Police Department (CPD) announced on Thursday that police have arrested a juvenile suspect for making bomb threats to “several” Cabarrus County Schools this week, including at Jay M. Robinson and Cox Mill high schools on Tuesday and Wednesday. The juvenile has been charged with four counts of making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. 

It is unclear whether the suspect lives in the area, as law prohibits the department from releasing any info about juvenile suspects, though the CPD did confirm that the arrest came as the result of an “out-of-state tip.” The department stated that a search of the suspect’s home found no evidence to suggest the suspect had any bomb-making materials or capacity to carry through on the threats. 

It is unclear if these incidents were in any way related to multiple bomb threats made at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools located in northern Mecklenburg County this week. On Tuesday night, administration at Hough High School in Cornelius “received a tip about a bomb threat they saw that was not necessarily directed at the school itself,” according to an email from school officials. 

Huntersville Police also responded to a tip about a non-specific bomb threat at North Mecklenburg High School on Wednesday. Investigations found no credible threats in either incident. 

Local Market Vendors Say Talks of New Location Halted

Central Market vendors displaced from the former Eastland Mall site in March say talks to open a new market in south Charlotte have halted due to business executives in charge of the potential new site being on summer vacation. 

The vendors have been in communication with Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari and his colleague Charlie Mulligan since speaking out about their troubles at a Charlotte City Council meeting in July. After an original attempt by Bokhari to open a new market in Uptown was not popular with vendors, the two groups began discussing a new site in the Galleria area of south Charlotte. 

According to a release from Central Market vendors on Friday, things moved quickly from there, and in mid-August vendors were promised a table lease agreement within a few days to review and approve, with an aim to open the new market by September 17. That’s when progress came to a halt. 

Theodore Williams walks with two others at the first Eastland Open Air Flea Market on Aug. 15, 2015
Theodore Williams (middle) at the first Eastland Open Air Market on Aug. 15, 2015. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

Vendors now say that various attempts to reach Bokhari have gone unanswered and they are calling on him to contact the property owners to move things forward. 

“As we wait for the one document that is halting progress, we cannot open the market,” stated vendor and Central Market board member Claudia García in Friday’s release. “Our families continue to struggle, as we are not all able to move our merchandise or sell our goods. I myself am facing difficulties in paying my bills, as I am now a single mother attempting to raise my children.” 

In a tweet responding to Queen City Nerve’s reporting on the release on Friday afternoon, Bokhari stated, “I’ve been working every day on this since I made my promise. Everyone needs to calm down.”

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