By now you’ve heard that the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival —based in High Point since its inception in 1977 — has ceased operations.

High Point Enterprise speculates whether or not the loss of state funding started the festival’s downward spiral:

(B)ut three years ago, with the Great Recession strapping state finances, then-Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue and the Republican-controlled General Assembly eliminated more than $200,000 in annual state financing. One immediate result was that the Shakespeare Festival canceled its fall season three years ago, which at the time was a first for the festival launched in 1977.

The loss of state funding may have prompted a downward spiral that’s led to the festival’s ending.

…Local attorney Jim Morgan, a former chairman of the board for the Shakespeare Festival, said the cut of state funding contributed to the downward spiral for the festival.

“Losing $200,000 all at once is a lot of money. It certainly was not helpful,” Morgan said.

No it wasn’t helpful, but the $1.5 million donation from local philanthropist Jim Millis was helpful. You have to wonder where that money went so quickly. One commenter to the HPE has a theory —- “overhires and grand plans for expansion of a entity that never made a dime.”