Addressing the dead elephant on the stage:
With the Playhouse gone, and other venues feeling the pinch, a new brand of theatre could arise
by Peter Birnie, May 5 2012
... Make no mistake, this is still a city with a vibrant theatre scene, but you can't lose a lung and expect to keep breathing easy. Theatre Conspiracy artistic director Tim Carlson sums it up nicely.
"It's a great time for audiences," Carlson writes in an email, "but whether it can be sustained by artists is another question. The loss of Playhouse-size paycheques will be a serious setback to a lot of mid-career and senior actors, designers and directors."
...There's no escaping the fact that people have to move out of their comfort zone if they want to find the best of what's on offer.
Carlson cites the recent example of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, presented at the Cultch by a clutch of small companies pooling their resources for a collective take on the controversial 2005 play by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Stephen Drover directed a production by Pound of Flesh Theatre in association with Pacific Theatre and Neworld Theatre, presented with Rumble Productions as part of the 2012 TREMORS Festival.
"An up-and-coming director leading a terrific cast that sank their fangs into a world-renowned contemporary script that had real energy, venom and vision," says Carlson. "Maybe such partnerships will be the standard or maybe they'll evolve into new entities that produce in larger venues. There's no shortage of talent or producing skill in this town."
A 2010 study for the federal government by Hill Strategies Research found that B.C. residents attended live theatre just about as often as anyone else in Canada, and that means about 44 per cent of us put bums in seats. Not surprisingly, given that it's home to Toronto's lively theatre scene as well as the Shaw and Stratford festivals, Ontario was tops with 48 per cent attending. ...