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.