Carolina Theatre has signed an outside promoter to co-present concerts at the 90-year-old theater in downtown Durham.
Nashville-based National Shows 2 (NS2) will co-promote at least 60 touring acts per year at the Carolina’s main room, 1,000-seat Fletcher Hall, which is also a key event for local festivals including Full Frame, Art of Cool and Moogfest. Four NS2 shows are already on this fall’s Carolina schedule, starting with the latest version of Squirrel Nut Zippers on Sept. 23.
“They are placing holds on a daily basis,” Carolina director of live events Joe Student said of NS2.
NS2 has a similar arrangement with Charleston Music Hall, a 966-seat theater in South Carolina. The firm also books shows at Durham Performing Arts Center and venues across the country.
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The move comes as the Carolina continues trying to dig out from under a seven-figure deficit. In April 2015, it was reported that the Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. nonprofit had a surplus for the first time in years.
As it turned out, that was reportedly due to accounting errors and there was actually a deficit of more than $600,000 – which had ballooned to $1.2 million by December. CEO Bob Nocek and chief operating officer Aaron Bare resigned in January.
In March, Durham’s City Council pledged up to $600,000 toward paying down the $1.2 million debt, with the Carolina’s nonprofit responsible for raising the other half through donations. That fundraising campaign currently stands at about $400,000.
“We’re moving forward to try to (raise) the rest,” Student said. “We’re supposed to meet that match by June 2017, the end of this fiscal year. We hope to have a surplus by then.”
Along with fundraising, partnering with an outside promoter will lessen the Carolina’s risk on high-dollar roadshows.
“This will minimize our risk because the shows are routed with other venues that NS2 is renting,” Student said.