Non-Profits Seek The Opposite

With financial institutions not exactly faring well in the economic crisis, organizations like symphonies, opera and theatre groups are suffering as businesses and banks no longer have much to contribute to the performing arts.

“When companies are no longer making the money they need to make, their giving is the first thing to go,” said René D. Copeland, the Tennessee Repertory Theatre group’s producing artistic director, told the Tennessean.

Although ticket sales for the Nashville Symphony have done well in spite of the economy, symphony chief executive Alan Valentine explained that ticket sales only make up a third of the symphony’s overall budget while another third comes from contributors and the rest from the endowment fund.

The orchestra has not had to lay off any musicians yet but has trimmed some staff positions and cut $2.6 million from its $30 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

With contributions down 13 percent compared with last year and ticket sales down 10 percent, the Nashville Opera Association has also had to make cuts in expenses. The Tennessean reported that another Nashville group that may face budget cuts is The Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

A spot of good news for the theatre industry: An anonymous donor pledged $100,000 to Nashville’s Tennessee Repertory Theatre if the group could raise a similar amount on its own. The challenge kicked off at the beginning of February and is halfway to its goal.

Unfortunately, back East, the Connecticut Opera was forced to shut down after 67 years in mid-February, canceling its remaining performances. It didn’t even have the funds to file bankruptcy.