Social media campaign launched to save Flat Rock Playhouse

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Flat Rock Playhouse, known as the state theater of North Carolina, is in deep financial trouble:

Hendersonville Lightning has the story about Flat Rock Playhouse:

Flat Rock Playhouse supporters continued a social media campaign to save the financially imperiled theatre, scheduling a benefit concert for Dec. 11 and urging actors, musicians and other support personnel who have been touched by the organization to donate money.

A “Save the Playhouse” Facebook page created Thursday by Playhouse production manager Bill Munoz and others had attracted 2,300 members by Saturday morning. Hundreds of members had posted comments and shared memories of performances at the venerable theater that Robroy Farquhar founded 60 years as the Vagabond School of the Drama.

Here’s part of the plea posted at the Save the Playhouse page on Facebook:

Dear Flat Rock Playhouse vagabonds,

We are at a crossroads. The Playhouse is facing a pretty serious situation and we are in dire need of funds. No matter what stories are out there positive or negative, we as playhouse employees have been making strides towards getting this organization out of financial debt. However, it has not been enough. In order to finish out the year,the Playhouse needs to raise at least $250,000. We are calling on you fellow vagabonds, lovers of the playhouse, to help out in any way you can. Any donation is welcomed no matter how great or small! Any ideas on how to raise money are welcomed and encouraged. For example, create a dinner party, a benefit concert, bake sales, donations boxes. ANYTHING is welcomed. I can’t stress enough how important this is to maintain this organization and family that has been in existence for 60 years. Please help spread the word and help us with ideas. If you are sending money, checks payable to Flat Rock Playhouse, p.o. box 310 Flat Rock Playhouse Flat Rock NC 28731 Care of Bill Munoz. Once a vagabond, always a vagabond. Help us save this theater so that we can move forward and improve in our future.
Thank you and indebted to you,
Bill Munoz

And from the Asheville Citizen-Times, which details the Flat Rock Playhouse’s financial problems:

The Playhouse wants to raise $250,000 over the next 30 days, said Vincent Marini, producing artistic director. The theater’s financialproblems are traced to 2010 when the company lost 17,000 patrons and suffered a financial loss of about $1.3 million. Flat Rock lost about $500,000 in 2011 and hopes to break even this year.

Marini said there are three things people in the community can do to help: purchase tickets to the holiday program, buy or renew subscriptions for 2013 and, most importantly, make a personal contribution. Ultimately, Marini said, the company will need to raise $1 million.

The state theater of North Carolina, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, has been running at a deficit for the past four seasons, Marini said earlier this year.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. Arts Administrator November 19, 2012

    When an arts organization launches an emergency “Save Our Organization” campaign, its Board of Trustees needs to open up its books and give the community a thorough accounting of why it finds itself in this situation. Under the Farquhar family, the Board kept a close watch on finances and made sure the Playhouse stayed solvent. Lots of questions to ask, including why Vincent Marini’s salary is over $100,000, when Robin Farquhar’s salary on a few years earlier was only a little more than $81,000. Why was “a loan to or by a current or former officer, director, trustee, key employee, high compensated employee, or unqualified person outstanding as the end of the organizations (2010) tax year?” The Endowment has been steadily declining. Have the Trustees been responsible in using it for operating expenses? If the situation is as dire as this post suggests, the Trustees need to be speaking out and providing the community with full information. Ultimately, it is the Trustees who are responsible for the organization. Have they been wise in letting Vincent Marini use the Playhouse as a tryout house for dubious Broadway ventures that have already proved unsuccessful elsewhere?


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