It was June of 2020, and I was sitting in a (virtual) national non-profit seminar about how to face this new pandemic. I will never forget the fateful words of the keynote speaker: “Don’t worry, you won’t go out of business this year…you’ll go out of business in 2023/24 once the federal and state relief money ends and your donors and audiences don’t fully return.” 

Such fateful words. We have seen this very thing happen all over the country. Regionally, we’ve witnessed the loss of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Triad Stage, NC Stage (just this week) and the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, to name just a few.

To this end, in March Glow will be launching a fundraising campaign to save Glow from this very fate. Please do keep an eye out for it, and I encourage you to participate at any level that you can. Support us if you have ever valued the professional, thoughtful and moving work that we have provided over the past decade and a half. A community is defined by the art it creates. Let's not lose Glow or any more of our local performing arts organizations.

Glow Lyric Theatre can only survive into 2025 with your support. It's as simple as that.

There is also some good news: Glow operates with very little overhead and is virtually debt-free. We are also currently reorganizing Glow's business model to reflect this new post-pandemic reality.

As I say in the press release below, "Glow is not done." Rather, we are taking a very thoughtful and prudent pause to make sure that we can continue on for years to come, and in the most sustainable manner possible.


Christian Elser

Executive Director

Give Today



[Greenville, SC, February 26, 2024] – In response to ongoing challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, Glow Lyric Theatre regretfully announces the suspension of its 2024 Summer Festival Season. This decision comes after careful consideration of the organization's financial viability and commitment to ensuring a sustainable future.

The performing arts industry has faced unprecedented challenges in recent years, with many organizations grappling with diminished audiences, reduced funding, and increased operational costs. Glow Lyric Theatre, like numerous cultural institutions across the nation, has felt the impact of these circumstances deeply.

Reflecting on the decision, Dr. Christian Elser, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Glow Lyric Theatre, expressed, "The past few years have presented significant obstacles for our organization, as we've navigated the complexities of a post-pandemic landscape. Despite our best efforts, we've seen our audiences and donor support remain below pre-pandemic levels, making it increasingly difficult to sustain our operations."

Founded in 2009 with a vision to bring professional opera and musical theatre to Greenville, Glow Lyric Theatre has made significant contributions to the cultural landscape of the Southeast. Throughout its history, Glow has provided opportunities for over 1,000 talented performers, designers, technicians, and staff, fostering artistic growth and development within the community.

"While the decision to suspend our 2024 season was not made lightly, we believe it is the most responsible course of action to ensure the long-term viability of Glow Lyric Theatre," stated Dr. Elser. "Our priority is to maintain the financial health of the organization while continuing to serve our community through outreach initiatives and nonprofit partnerships."

Looking ahead, Glow Lyric Theatre remains steadfast in its commitment to producing high-quality, socially relevant art that resonates with audiences. The organization plans to use the hiatus to regroup, strategize, and prepare for an extraordinary return with the 2025 Summer Festival Season.

"Glow is not done," affirmed Dr. Elser. "We remain dedicated to our mission of creating art that speaks to our shared humanity and addresses pressing social and political issues. As we navigate this challenging period, we humbly ask for the continued support of our patrons, donors, and community partners."

In the coming months, Glow Lyric Theatre will be reaching out to its supporters to seek assistance in securing the resources needed to resume operations and fulfill its artistic vision.

For more information about Glow Lyric Theatre and ways to support its mission, please visit

About Glow Lyric Theatre: Glow Lyric Theatre is a leading cultural institution based in Greenville, South Carolina, dedicated to producing professional opera and musical theatre that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of its community. Since its founding in 2009, Glow has garnered national recognition for its artistic excellence, community engagement and commitment to social justice.

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