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Sign of the times

5 Dallas arts groups band together to boost profitability

Winspear Opera House in Dallas Arts District
The Winspear is home of the Dallas Opera. Photo by Tim Hursley
Dallas City Performance Hall
Dallas City Performance Hall is the latest treasure in the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Photo by Justin Terveen Courtesy of Dallas City Performance Hall
News_Wyly Theatre_Dallas Theater Center
Dallas Theater Center now calls the Wyly Theatre home. Photo by Bryan Amann
Winspear Opera House in Dallas Arts District
Dallas City Performance Hall
News_Wyly Theatre_Dallas Theater Center

It's simply good business, even if that business is the arts. Five Dallas arts organizations — AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Opera, Dallas Summer Musicals, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Theater Center — recently announced they are collaborating to ensure each of them stays solvent even during tough financial times.

Each organization will remain separate artistically. However, they will combine certain behind-the-scenes functions such as healthcare, benefits, ticketing, box office, scheduling and facility management.

 Although the organizations will remain separate artistically, they will combine behind-the-scenes areas such as benefits and facility management.

Details are still being determined, but the AT&T Performing Arts Center may take on additional ticket-selling responsibilities. The center currently handles ticketing for TITAS, DTC and other arts organizations, as well as Dallas City Performance Hall, the Majestic, the Meyerson and other venues on a per-show basis.

According to Rebecca Fletcher, chair of the Dallas Theater Center Board, cost-cutting was the main reason the five groups joined forces. For instance, by combining all of their healthcare and benefits, they can afford cheaper premiums in group coverage, which helps cut costs overall.

Aside from centralized ticketing, it's unclear how the collaboration may affect arts patrons. Even if there are no noticeable changes on the outside, this move should strengthen the groups' cores. And these groups are no strangers to collaboration. The Dallas Opera has a partnership with the Dallas Children's Theater, among others; the Dallas Theater Center has worked with Dallas Black Dance Theatre and TITAS.

“When we apply that same spirit of collaboration, where practical, to the operations side as well, we can accomplish great things together,” noted Dallas Opera CEO Keith Cerny.

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