Arts news in this week's issue

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Can Hooters save the arts? Will Charleston Ballet Theatre lose some dancers?

We ask these and more questions in this week's issue.

Dan McCue looks at how arts groups are revamping their marketing strategies. Some are new, some are old, but all are necessary in these trying economic times.

Here's a snippet:

It was sure to raise a few eyebrows.

The idea went like this: Instead of having theater patrons greeted by regular volunteer ushers, what if they were welcomed by Hooters girls?

It'd be edgy and something of a risk, said those privy to the plan, but the positive response was worth it. A slew of ticket sales came from first-time theatergoers — exactly what they were after.

For the launch of this season's LateNight at the Footlight series — starting with Dog Sees God, a Charlie Brown parody — the trappings of the legit theater were out, and tight T-shirts and bright orange hotpants were in.

Full story . . .

The last of Charleston Big Three performing arts groups has gone public with its financial troubles. The Charleston Ballet Theatre says its need $270,000 by the end of the season and $180,000 by the end of the year. What happens if it can't? Well, lost wages and layoffs may be in store.

Here's a sample:

The Charleston Ballet Theatre made its first public plea over the weekend during a performance of its annual Nutcracker.

Charles Patrick, board president, and Jill Eathorne Bahr, CBT's long-time choreographer, told the audience at Gaillard Auditorium that the dance company needs $180,000 by year's end. They did not say what would happen without the money, except that 2009 programs might be "curtailed."

In an interview with City Paper, Patrick said the dance company anticipates a fund-raising shortfall of as much as $270,000. If $180,000 is not raised now, he said, CBT might not be able to pay employees, adding that "we'd hate to do that." CBT may also have to cut dancers.

How many?

"At least two," he said.

Full story . . .

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