It's definitely not the end of the world for the Charleston Ballet Theatre. They've made little to no cuts, and in spite of everything, they are growing. During Spoleto, the company began experimenting with a few new approaches to pull in ticket-buyers and keep them around. One tactic they employed was partnering with a restaurant — in this case Fish — that encouraged their customers to visit the ballet's Magical Mystery Tour, while the CBT in turn sent attendees to the restaurant. There was even a CBT schedule beside the hostess stand at Fish. During the three-week art festival, CBT began having musicians perform in the lobby in between productions.
"I can tell you that we have really worked to make our upcoming season more accessible and audience-friendly than in the past," Administrative Director Kyle Barnette says.
The CBT is working with local businesses up and down King Street to celebrate the kick-off of some of their performances (Decadent Divas, Rocky Horror, and Motown Mania, to name a few). For example, Shine on Upper King will host a pre-show Rocky-themed cocktail party for ticket holders on opening and Halloween weekends. Everyone is encouraged to dress up and be prepared to participate in Halloween-inspired activities.
During the holidays, they'll host The Nutcracker both at the Gaillard and the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. The reason behind this is to, once again, accommodate the entire CBT audience. "We have added this performance in demand from audiences in the Summerville, Goose Creek, Daniel Island, and Moncks Corner areas who have expressed their desire to see the show, but do not want to trek all the way downtown to see it." Barnette says.
However, the most ambitious event the CBT has this season is Decadent Divas, opening Oct. 2. Couture designer Mary Porter is designing the costumes and hosting a pre-show fashion runway event while downtown restaurant Fish hosts post-show cocktail hours after all the night shows. The dance company also hopes to have interactive video throughout the performances on the flat screens that currently frame the stage.