Saturday, February 2, 2008

CanStage Rattled by Shakeup, Star Reports

From the Toronto Star online:

"The Canadian Stage Company, which has a stated aim to create and produce the best in Canadian theatre, will not produce any Canadian work on its mainstage next season, industry sources say.

"The country’s largest regional theatre laid off up to a dozen people yesterday as part of a major restructuring effort in the face of ongoing financial and artistic problems.

"The news is likely to raise a few eyebrows from the federal, provincial and civic funding bodies that give CanStage roughly 18 per cent of its operating budget — significantly more than the 8 per cent for Soulpepper and 4 per cent for Stratford.

"The resignation of artistic director David Storch on Wednesday, it seems now, was just the tip of the iceberg and a sign that a lot more rough water is ahead.

"According to reliable industry sources the beleaguered company won’t be producing any shows of its own in its Berkeley St. venue next season, and will instead depend on three of the city’s major alternative theatres — Nightwood, Studio 180 and Necessary Angel — to provide productions for Canadian Stage.

"Artistic producer Martin Bragg would only respond with a 'no comment' when asked about that development, but representatives for both Studio 180 and Nightwood Theatre confirmed that they are 'in negotiations' with Canadian Stage for next season.

"Both Bragg and his general manager, David Abel, refused to discuss details of the downsizing, citing confidentiality agreements with the employees in question.

"A number of senior artistic and administrative staff, including long-time employees, dramaturge Iris Turcott, and director of audience development and education, Patty Jarvis, will no longer be working for the company, industry sources confirmed.

"Although Bragg insists that new play development — Turcott’s normal area of responsibility — will still be a source of focus for the organization, their immediate future doesn’t seem to indicate that.

"'No comment' was Bragg’s answer again when asked if there would be any Canadian works in the 2008-2009 mainstage season. The Star has learned that in all likelihood, there won’t be."

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