Kanawha Players, a Charleston institution and the second oldest continually running community theatre group in the country, is in serious trouble. They are beyond critical when it comes to cash flow. If they cannot raise some much needed money this month, they may cease to exist next month. It would be a shame if this happened.
The Charleston theatre community has already witnessed the recent demise of the Charleston Stage Company and several other community theatre groups are struggling more than usual to find an audience. I don’t know whether it’s the still lingering recession, the cultural brain-drain stemming from the loss of Union Carbide, or just increased competition from Netflix, but it’s getting harder and harder to get people to leave their homes and come out to enjoy and experience live entertainment.
Let’s not mince words. Kanawha Players has been tap dancing on the edge of oblivion for a very long time. However, the current administration has been very proactive, reaching out and establishing new ties in the artistic community, giving new talent a chance to shine and opening their stage up for art, dance, experimental theatre and rock music.KP has become a vital and exciting part of the Charleston art community. It would be a shame to see this renewed relevance snuffed out.
KP is throwing a few “hail Marys” this month to try to raise the necessary funds to continue.
This Friday the 13th, Kanawha Players is presenting a double feature of movies directed by Ed Wood. This is a rare chance to see Ed Wood movies in Charleston the way they were intended to be shown, on the big screen, to a room full of incredulous people. Five dollars gets you in the door and all proceeds from admission and concessions go to help keep Kanawha Players alive. This is part of a continuing movie series that will happen most Fridays at KP as long as they are able to keep the doors open.
Saturday night, the fourteenth, it’s an 80s Party at KP. For this we will quote freely from their event page, “We are sure you will have a totally tubular and bodacious time with our retro gaming, photos booth, and dance party. And if you think you have the best threads to rock out to, you will have to join our costume contest for totally excellent prizes. Join us for this time warp on June 14th. This sweet party starts at 8:00 pm, and tickets are just $10 bucks, or $15 for you and your dude or dudette! We know you are just totally stoked to the max to join us!”
On Thursday,June 19, the East End McDonald’s will donate fifteen percent of their proceeds to Kanawha Players Theater. Details are in this graphic.
On June 20, the Wayward Girls School of Burlesque will offer a five part master class in burlesque for anyone interested in learning the art of the tease. The individual classes will be ten dollars or you can attend all five for forty. All proceeds go to Kanawha Players.
In addition to these events, there will be a comedy show on June 22. I will have details on that, along with an update on how successful these fundraising efforts are and any other chances to help save KP next week.