#CdnCult Times; Volume 5, Edition 1

#CdnCult Times; Volume 5, Edition 1


Three years ago the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company closed its doors two years shy of its 50th anniversary season. Many within Vancouver’s theatre community still wonder why did the organization failed. What happened?

When a major institution is removed from the ecology, the consequences are deep and multifaceted. With some distance, it is possible to look back at this shift in the cultural tectonic plates and gain an understanding of the forces at play and how they were manifested in terms both of resources and artists.

In this edition, Adrienne writes about the factors that led to the closure of the Playhouse, posing an irresolvable disconnect not in the business mode of the organization, but the ethos of its founding. Ivan Habel follows the money: What happened to the public and private funds that supported the Playhouse’s activities? What were the funders philosophical approaches towards reallocating the funds that had previously been awarded to the Playhouse? Lois Dawson takes the temperature of the independent artists who worked at the Playhouse. Looking back, did the organization’s closing affect their lives as they had expected?

We hope this is the beginning of a productive dialogue that can benefit organizations of all sizes across Canada. More change is coming; knowledge of the effect of previous changes can help guide us.



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About the Author

Michael is Artistic Director of SpiderWebShow, which he co-created with Creative Catalyst Sarah Garton Stanley. He was previously Executive Director and Transformation Designer of Generator, where he led the transition from a fee-for-service model named STAF, to the current capacity-building model it operates on. Since 2003, he has run Toronto-based Praxis Theatre, with which he has directed 14 plays and curated several festivals while writing for and running performance-based websites. He teaches regularly at The National Theatre School and Queen's University, where SpiderWebShow is currently in residence.