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Friday, May 4, 2012

Raleigh Ensemble Players files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection

Posted by on Fri, May 4, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Two actors in DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, produced by REP in June 2011
Raleigh Ensemble Players (REP), the 30-year old theater company in downtown Raleigh, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

This afternoon, the company sent an email to members of the area theater community confirming that the company had ceased operations, effective immediately: "Following the unanimous adoption of a resolution by REP's Board of Directors, the company has filed for bankruptcy." The email was signed by C. Glen Matthews, the company's artistic director.

According to documents filed yesterday in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, REP has $224,507.77 in unsecured debts.

The company has no real property, but its personal assets, including lighting equipment, costumes and props, were valued at $9,932.14.

According to a profit and loss statement for April 2012, REP's monthly expenses included $4,070 in rent and $3,523.65 in office and administrative expenses.

For the first four months of 2012, the company reported revenue of $31,734.78, with nearly 80 percent coming from grants and donations.

The two largest debts are owed to figures associated with the company's new performance space at 213 Fayetteville St., which opened in the summer of 2009.

The largest creditor is Alphin Design Build, the contractor hired to renovate the theater space, which is owed $110,000. The second-largest debt, $60,000, is owed to Jean Pauwels, the owner of the building. Raleigh Ensemble Players does not have equity in the building.

Also listed among more than 20 creditors is Vincent Whitehurst Architect, who is owed $2,489, according to the documents.

Whitehurst and Will Alphin are owners of Foundation, a popular bar located in the basement of 213 Fayetteville St. Whitehurst designed the Raleigh Ensemble Players space and Alphin served as the contractor. Pauwels, the building's owner, operates a business in the same building, a countertop materials supplier called Pyrolave.

Gary Williams, the company's managing director, is owed $10,000 for unpaid wages.

REP, the Triangle's oldest independent theater company, had performed in Artspace, located on East Davie Street, for 20 years prior to its move to Fayetteville Street. In 2011, it was recognized by the Independent Weekly with an Indie Arts award.

In a 2009 article in the Independent Weekly, company artistic director C. Glen Matthews cited a desire for the greater visibility that a permanent downtown home would bring them.

Pauwels, for his part, was looking for a tenant for the four-story building he was renovating.

"I wanted something I would enjoy having around, something more unusual, more fun than a clothing store or fast food," Pauwels told the Indy in 2009. "Some artistic activity in the building would be good for Fayetteville Street, good for everyone. It would make downtown more lively."

But in the same article, the company acknowledged difficulties in paying its contractor.

At the end of March, $100,000 in debt to its contractor, company management asked the builder to stop further work. "We didn't want to get in over our heads more than we already were," said Williams.

There will be a meeting of creditors at 9:30 a.m., May 29, 2012, at 300 Fayetteville Street, Suite 130, Raleigh, NC 27601.

Calls to Alphin, Williams and REP board members Betsy Henderson and Don Davis were not immediately returned.

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