Charleston Stage, the city’s largest theater company, announced today that it cut three full-time staffers from its payroll and issued a 6 percent pay cut for everybody else, including Julian Wiles, the company’s founder and director.
“We regret losing these fine staff members,” Wiles said in a press release. “We also appreciate the sacrifice our existing staff is making to insure our shows go on during these challenging times.”
Wiles is also taking a nearly 20 percent deferment of his salary for one year.
Wiles said deep cuts were necessary because of the cost of moving from the Dock Street Theatre, which is under renovation until 2010. More significant, however, have been huge fund-raising deficits. Donations, Wiles says, are down 43 percent compared to last year.
Productions will go as planned, except for one change. Instead of staging a big production of Crazy for You in April, Charleston Stage will present the smaller hit musical, The Producers.
Before that, the company has to raise $100,000 by the end of December. Then it needs to raise the same amount by the end of the season. If not, Wiles expressed doubt about Charleston Stage’s ability to continue producing shows and offering educational programs to kids at their current levels.
“I have never seen anything like the current across the board fundraising shortfalls that the arts organizations and non-profits in Charleston are presently facing.” —John Stoehr
UPDATE: “We really need support, but I want to make it clear we are not on the brink of closing the doors,” Wiles said in a follow-up email.