The Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced Tuesday afternoon that it would suspend its operations and cancel its upcoming production of God of Carnage due to financial problems. Read the press release from The Rep below:
Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Board of Directors announced today that they will suspend current operations, effective immediately, and not complete the final production of the 2017-18 Season.
“The inability to reach its projected goals for charitable giving and ticket sales, and the change in the theatre landscape in Little Rock have created a perfect financial storm for The Rep,” said Board Chair Brian Bush. “The Rep’s ticket sales have been on a downhill slope for several years. Our community is on the verge of losing an amazing arts organization and tremendous asset to our city. Closing The Rep will have a devastating impact on the redevelopment of Main Street and the creative corridor.”
Phase 1 | Effective May 8
John Miller-Stephany has announced that he is stepping down as Producing Artistic Director on May 8th along with most other staff members. Only a critical few staff members will remain through the summer to conduct the Rep’s summer education program. “I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities afforded me – and for the personal support that I have received – during these past eighteen months. My hope is that The Rep will survive the current crisis in some form. However, I sadly do not see a place for myself in the reimagined Rep,” Miller-Stephany said.
Immediately suspend production operations
- Cancel God of Carnage, the final production in The Rep’s 2017-18 Season – Those who have
purchased tickets for God of Carnage will receive a tax receipt letter for the value of the tickets.
- Suspend planning for the 2018-19 Season
The Rep will complete its obligations to host:
- ArtWorks, this Saturday, April 28
- Ballet Arkansas in Concert with Drew Mays, May 4 – 6
Phase 2 | Effective August 3
The Rep will suspend all operations upon completion of its nearly sold out Education at The Rep summer
program. Students who have already registered will be included in the final education program.
The future of the theatre is under evaluation. Board Chair-Elect Ruth Shepherd is leading a committee of board members and past board members to fundraise for and conceptualize a reimagined Arkansas Repertory Theatre. “It was devastating to vote to suspend operations and cancel the final show of our season, but we just don’t have the money right now,” Shepherd said. “Continuing to produce at the level in which Arkansas audiences have come to expect from The Rep would have put us more in debt. That said, I think this community loves The Rep and understands the value of having a professional theatre that produces work here for Arkansans. Therefore, I hope that everyone who cares will step up and write a check and offer to help reimagine what The Rep can be in our community and state.”
“On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank the dedicated staff and creative teams that have given so much of their time and talents to The Rep” said Bush. “Arkansas Repertory Theatre is eternally grateful to the staff and supporters who have been there for us, our fellow artists, our audiences and our donors.”
ARKANSAS REPERTORY THEATRE
Founded in 1976 by Cliff Fannin Baker, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state’s largest non-profit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), The Rep has produced more than 350 productions including 40 world premieres on its 377-seat theatre located in its historic building in downtown Little Rock. The Rep employees a resident staff of over 30 designers, technicians and administrators who create six to seven productions for an annual audience in excess of 70,000 for productions and educational programming. The Rep employs guest artists from across the country to produce works, created, rehearsed and built in downtown Little Rock, ranging from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premieres to the classics of dramatic literature. For more information, visit TheRep.org.