No Waiting in the Wings: Theatre Charlotte Needs Us Now
The Theatre Charlotte building the day after the fire
After an already devastating year for live theater, 2020 had one more cruel surprise for Theatre Charlotte this week.
Early Monday morning, an electrical fire in the HVAC system broke out in the historic theater at 501 Queens Road. While no one was injured and the fire department responded promptly, the damage is substantial. The seating, staging, lighting and sound equipment were all damaged or completely lost. The ceiling, too, was affected. Its future is uncertain.
As reported by WFAE, early estimates from the Charlotte Fire Department place the property damage at $50,000. Theatre Charlotte executive director, Ron Law, has already said that number is likely very low.
This would be an unexpected blow at any time. But coming at the end of 2020, it’s an especially disheartening turn of fate; it will likely delay plans for 2021 virtual performances.
Theatre Charlotte has been a vital part of our city’s creative heartbeat since its earliest days as the Charlotte Drama League in the late 1920s. They’ve called the building on Queens Road “home” since 1941. According to Blumenthal Arts, Theatre Charlotte has staged more than 3,000 performances in that time.
Theatre Charlotte has been graceful in its response to the public’s desire to help, thanking the community for “the outpouring of love, support and messages from people waiting in the wings to take action.”
But, we do not need to wait in the wings to help. We can help now. Theatre Charlotte’s website has a Fire Relief Fund. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online in any amount.
How You Can Help
VIDEO: Five Years of Making Creative Connections
How much creative troublemaking can you get into in five years? Biscuit-makers, Matt Olin and Tim Miner, know a little something about it.
When they convened the first gathering of CreativeMornings/Charlotte in November 2015, with help from a dedicated team of volunteers, the intention was simple: Give creative Charlotteans a place to meet, celebrate and collaborate.
At the time, gathering the creative community was a passion project. Today, Charlotte Is Creative is a nonprofit organization and their full-time jobs. The organization works to connect, promote and advocate for creatives through the HUG Micro-Grant Program and The Biscuit, as well as public projects like the Black Lives Matter Mural and the Arts, Culture & Creativity Fund.
To commemorate the first five years of Charlotte Is Creative projects, Kristen Miranda, Mary King and the team at WBTV’s QC Life created a short retrospective, including comments from Monica Holmes (Manager of the City of Charlotte’s Urban Design Center), Stacy Cassio (Founder of Pink Mentor Network) and Lo’Vonia Parks (Caricaturist and Mural Artist). Watch the segment here.
Keep the conversation going.
Matt and Tim recently sat down to look back at the past five years … and ahead to the next five on The Biscuit CLT podcast. Listen in here.
Charlotte Is Creative is the publisher of The Biscuit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ernesto Moreno
We Want to Know 2020’s Unsung Creative Heroes
Please help us identify the “Unsung Creative Heroes of 2020” so we can lift them up in a January feature here in The Biscuit. To do so, please take a moment to click the button below and let us know:
- Which creatives carried our community with their joy, their passion and their talents?
- Which creatives did the work, but didn’t get the credit?
- Who do you know that we should know?
- Which creatives should we collaborate with in 2021?
Photo courtesy of KiiK Create
If you thought it was too late to make new best friends this year, think again.
After a few months of gawking at their beautiful work on Instagram, we caught up last week with Manoela Madera and Gray Edgerton, the artists behind KiiK Create. And, yeah, we’re in total awe of their insane abilities already. You might be, too. This creative duo met at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and fell in love with each other … and each other’s work. Since then, they’ve worked together in Hong Kong, South America, the continental United States and in Puerto Rico, where Madera was born, creating what they call “portals,” immersive experiences featuring their vibrant work. It’s meant to pull you in spiritually and emotionally and (often) physically, surrounding you with art. They call it the “Big WOW!”
They were living in Brooklyn at the height of COVID this summer and decided to move to Charlotte. It was a bit of a homecoming. Edgerton grew up in Rutherfordton and played in Charlotte soccer leagues. Years before, a friend of his, Kyle McEnroe, invited him to join his business, MAC Landscape in Charlotte, creating elaborate outdoor designs (think of them as immersive organic experiences).
So, in June, they moved from Brooklyn to Matthews. They’re Charlotteans now and looking for ways to add their work to the Queen City’s creative canvas. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
Follow them. Connect with them. We want Kiik Create to know: They’re at home in Charlotte.
PHOTO CREDIT: Brooke Brown
The Biscuit doesn’t have a “Man/Woman of the Year” award. But if we did, Ricky Singh would be a top contender.
As one of the founders of the Charlotte Lab School, Singh is no stranger to the creative scene. But, in the wake of a shooting along Beatties Ford Rd. that claimed the lives of four Charlotteans on June 22, he went into overdrive.
With community leaders and artists, Singh started the “Beatties Ford Strong” movement, organizing murals and public art in West Charlotte to give neighbors something positive to rally around.
From there, he hasn’t stopped — working with SHARE Charlotte on #GivingTuesdayCLT, painting a #CountOnMeCLT mural, partnering with the Charlotte Symphony on a video filmed along Beatties Ford Rd. and preparing to open the Lab School’s new campus on South Tryon St.
Over the months, one project has eluded Singh — a mural on the side of the Queens Mini Mart at 2120 Beatties Ford Rd., the site of the June shooting. Temporary memorials were set up on the sidewalk since the day of the shooting, but Singh wanted to do something more hopeful and permanent. He was patient and worked with Historic West End Partners to contact property owners and get the proper permissions.
Now, he’s in the process of finishing a mural there with help from Makayla Binter and a grant from the NoDa Neighborhood Association. It’s based on the sankofa, a metaphorical symbol from Ghana. The sankofa depicts a bird whose neck is reaching backward to pluck an egg from its back. It’s a reminder that we must look into the past … however painful it may be … to create a positive future.
Singh says West End neighbors have stopped by to thank him, share stories of friends they’ve lost at that site and, sometimes, cry with him. (We can confirm that. During our eight-minute interview, Singh was stopped five times by residents who wanted to thank him.)
“This is a non-conventional memorial and another measure of ‘putting down the guns’ and moving forward,” said Singh. “To me, this is sacred ground, and people are starting to see it that way, too.”
Watch a WBTV interview with Singh at the site of the mural here.
DIRECTIONS: 2120 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte, N.C. 28216
Don’t go ’round hungry. If you missed the last batch of The Biscuit, don’t worry. We’ve kept it warm for you. This batch featured:
- $6 Million in CARES Act funds and private donations awarded to creative individuals and organizations
- Six local artists pair with six Carolina panthers for #MyCauseMyCleats
- “Dear Frontline” commissions new mural on Mecklenburg Investment Co. building
- A quick chat with Jody Mace of CharlotteOnTheCheap.com
- They’re not giant cookies, they’re “Furrow” on South Boulevard
Click here to dig in, y‘all.
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