while allowing for smaller scale, “studio” productions, late night comedy performances, and community forums. The mix has caught on. Greenville residents of all ages and backgrounds are more likely than ever to find themselves in The Warehouse Theatre’s cozy exposed red brick and heart pine lobby. If he’s not acting on stage, you are most likely to find Paul Savas pouring you a generous glass of wine at the theatre’s concession bar. While his pour is quite liberal, the way he manages the theatre’s books is not. “My dad was a corporate businessman,” he says. “I like to think I picked up some of his money management skills.” Must be. The Warehouse Theatre is among the best-managed and most financially stable arts organizations in South Carolina…and, perhaps, the Southeast. Since his arrival, Savas has concerned himself with fiduciary soundness and artistic aspiration. This balanced approach has been well-received…especially by his Board of Directors who welcomed him to the job with a dim financial report. “It was bad. No one to blame, just…poor business management. We spent more than we took in.” Savas says this matter-of-factly. Like a corporate CEO. “We’re finally in the black. But…we’re not out of the woods by any means.” With funding for the arts under attack at the federal and state
aul Savas and Shannon Robert came to The Warehouse Theatre from New York City four years ago with impressive professional theatre resumes and a compelling vision to for Greenville’s first “alternative” playhouse. “We’re a community theatre,” Savas says. “And I know that sounds unprofessional to some people, or lacking in quality. But we’re building this community theatre in a professional manner…living within our means and producing great plays.” It is this sensible approach that is so refreshing when one visits The Warehouse Theatre. Staff and volunteers find a true sense of community in the work. These aren’t theatre hobbyists or drama dabblers. This is a theatre community that is serious about creating great work. And the audience is responding. Last season saw nearly 44 consecutive sell-out performances. That is unheard of success for any theatre company—but especially in Greenville, South Carolina. And it flies in the face of advice rendered by many so-called community theatre experts who breathlessly advocate the programming of light comedies and musicals to attract large audiences in medium-sized, suburban cities. Since taking the reigns of The Warehouse Theatre in 2007, Savas has programmed consistently serious mainstage seasons,
Published on Sep 10, 2011
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