Thursday, November 19, 2009

Note from Marcus

If you saw THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, you won't forget Marcus Youssef - he played El Fayoumy, the prosecuting attorney. Well, Marcus is Artistic Director at NeWorld Theatre, who are also feeling the same sort of extreme financial duress as Pacific Theatre. Given yesterday's Soul Food post Some Hope For Restoration Of Arts Funding, it would be easy to relax and say, "Well, that's taken care of. It's all going to turn out fine." But as a reminder that that ain't necessarily so, here's a recent email from our friends at NeWorld...

. . .

As you know, these are very challenging times for the arts and culture in BC. Our provincial government has pulled an extraordinary bait and switch. After co-opting arts organizations with the Olympics (I'm proud to say we are only tangentially involved), they have turned around and begun to implement wholesale decimation to provincial investment in culture (and numerous other civil-society sectors).

They are planning a 90% cut to arts and culture investment next year. 90% to a line-item that represents less than %.05 of the provincial budget. It's beyond outrageous, and it makes no economic sense.

We believe this is an all-out attack on places where people come together for REASONS OTHER THAN PROFIT.

We are fighting tooth and nail to change it. I have met with the minister twice. Adrienne and I are involved in half a dozen major events and actions. And, boldly, we need your help. More than ever. We can't do this alone. Please a consider a donation, and please consider one that is larger than you've previously offered us.

This is an excerpt from my most recent presentation to the Minister:

"When we met in August, Minister, you told me that 5 million dollars saved from the BC Arts Council could pay for 5 one million dollar non-invasive breast cancer detection machines. I hear that. Like all of us I know about disease. And death. My mother's in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease. She can no longer talk, doesn't know who I am, and can't remember anything. Except for music. Do you know "Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash? It was mum's favourite song when she was a teenager, and to this day when I put it on the little stereo in her nursing home room, she taps her index finger ever so slightly, and smiles. It's not breast cancer machines, Minister, you're right. But nor is it a frill. And I believe with all my heart that it is what we will remember at the end."

We are making the case for the ESSENTIAL ROLE arts and culture plays in a healthy, caring, economically viable and democratic society. And we need your help.

I'll say it again. We Need Your Help. It'll help ensure the survival of arts and culture in BC. And it'll help us avoid layoffs and tour cancellations, and it'll ensure the survival of our upcoming shows and community projects, which we're so proud of. These are projects like the new Ali and Ali show, @ the Cultch in April, and touring to Toronto in the fall; a program for youth-at-risk with Leave Out Violence; our new shared production/rehearsal space, Progress Lab 1422; our environmental, walk-about piece PodPlays, premiering at the 2011 Push Festival ... and on and on and on.

. . .

Marcus, on behalf of Adrienne and Kirsty, and Camyar and our Board, + our many, many contractors, suppliers, colleagues, partners, and sister organizations.

To assist NeWorld, visit their website for more information

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