Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. Announces Second Straight Financial Surplus

For the second consecutive year, Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. recorded a financial surplus, according to audited financial statements presented to the Board of Trustees today. On the strength of record activity levels, the nonprofit recorded a surplus of $41,226 in Fiscal Year 2014, which ended June 30. See the Carolina Theatre's Annual Report.

“The financial performance of this organization is just one measure of the incredible work we’re doing as one of the Triangle’s leading arts organizations,” said Bob Nocek, President/CEO of the Carolina Theatre. “We’re doing more than ever to bring great concerts, comedy, cinema and educational programming to Downtown Durham, and in a way that continues to improve the financial performance of our nonprofit.”

The last time the Carolina Theatre’s audited financials showed two consecutive profitable years were fiscal years 2007 and 2008. The organization had lost money from 2009 through 2012, before finishing 2013 with a $68,730 surplus.

 “We continue to demonstrate that we’re on the right path,” Nocek said. “We continue to attract new customers, offer new programming, and grow the organization while keeping it profitable.”

Overall revenue increased 17 percent in 2014, breaking the $4 million mark for the first time since the organization was founded in 1992. The theatre earned $4,139,467 in revenue against expenses of $4,102,919. By comparison, the Carolina Theatre brought in just $2.4 million in 2010 when Nocek became president/CEO of the nonprofit.

Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. operates the city-owned Carolina Theatre complex under a management agreement that runs through at least 2024. The city pays the Carolina a fixed annual fee to support operations of the facility. In 2014, that fee was $614,250.

The Carolina’s balance sheet still showed an overall deficit of $224,909 at the conclusion of the fiscal year, but two consecutive years of profits have improved the theatre’s financial picture significantly and reduced the deficit by a third.

“The continued improvement at the Carolina Theatre is a direct result of the expert and prudent stewardship by Bob and his staff, as well as a lot of hard work by my predecessors on the Board of Trustees,” Scott Harmon, the Theatre’s first-year board chairman, said. “By any objective measure, it’s clear that we’re on a much different trajectory than we’ve been on in prior years. All metrics point to the Carolina Theatre as a healthy organization that will continue to make money and grow along with Durham.”  

Among the theatre’s 2013-14 highlights were:

  • Fundraising reached a record high of $390,000 in cash contributions.
  • The Star Series – concerts and comedy presented by the nonprofit – included 69 performances in 2013-14, and exceeded 40,000 sold tickets for the first time in the organization’s history.
  • The Carolina Theatre’s film program had its most profitable year in the 20-year history of the organization, generating $94,000 in net profits.
  • Gross concessions revenue has increased 62 percent in three years, achieving a record $383,000 in fiscal year 2014.
  • Overall ticket sales for live events and films produced a record $2.2 million in revenue, up from $1.8 million in the prior year.
  • The venue was ranked among Pollstar’s top 100 theatres worldwide in attendance for the third consecutive year.
  • The theatre climbed to the No. 5 position among the Largest Performing Arts Organizations in the Triangle in the annual rankings released by Triangle Business Journal.
  • Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. extended its management agreement with the City of Durham for 10 years, through 2024, with two successive five-year renewal terms.

The theater also had an economic impact of $15.6 million as calculated by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, with more than $21 million in overall spending by visitors attending Carolina Theatre events.

“The arts are a major economic engine, and a major contributor to Durham’s rising profile and the rebirth of downtown,” Nocek said. “The Carolina Theatre is one of the major reasons people want to live in or visit Durham, and we’re going to continue to find new ways to serve the community in the coming years.” 

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