You could say that Charlie Flynn-McIver, artistic director and co-founder with wife Angie of the North Carolina Stage Company (15 Stage Lane, Asheville), has paid his dues…artistically speaking.
He’s worked as a professional actor for more than 30 years, been to more auditions than he can remember, staged dozens of plays, and even once broke his wrist in an on-stage sword fight during a production of Macbeth. He is the consummate actor, director, and impresario.
He’s also a highly effective advocate for the arts in Western North Carolina. With little or no provocation, he will quote some serious dollar figures associated with supporting the local arts community. For instance, did anyone know that, during 2010, nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences in Buncombe County spent a combined $43.7 million? Or that nationally that figure swells to $135.3 billion, providing 4.13 million jobs and $9.59 billion in federal tax revenue?
So when Flynn-McIver tells you it’s important to support the local arts community, he knows whereof he speaks. In fact, his stage company recently received a very prestigious National Theatre Company (the organization that invented the Tony Award) grant in the amount of $10,000, all of which will find its way into the local economy in the form of actor salaries, production expenses, etc.
To qualify for the award, the theater’s work must represent “breadth, vitality, innovation, and a commitment to an artistic community, general audiences, or a specific demographic.” Additionally, a theatre has to show they are financially viable. “That’s not an easy task even in the best of times,” says Flynn-McIver, “let alone during difficult economic times. I think the honor also speaks well of Asheville’s ability to support a professional theatre company.”