This week we were shocked to learn that The Vancouver Playhouse, a major institution in the national theatre ecology with a 49-year history, was closing its doors immediately effective Saturday night.
Some reactions from Vancouver & around the country:
- The Globe & Mail’s Marsha Lederman covered the announcement here and the aftermath here
- @SMLois arrived with her iPhone to capture the end of an evening vigil outside of the theatre, which she blogged about here
- In backofthebook.ca, Frank Moher related the closure to a failure in Vancouver theatre criticism, among other factors
- The Charlebois Post collected a series of responses from Canadian Theatre artists here
- A response to assistance from the City by the Playhouse’s artistic managing director Max Riemer posted last September was getting heavy circulation on social media over the weekend
- Also circulating was this petition to Save The Vancouver Playhouse
Below is playwright and director Morris Panych’s letter as it appeared at the theatre during the final performance transcribed by Lois Dawson:
The Vancouver Playhouse is more than just the sum of its parts. Yes, it employs hundreds of actors, directors, designers, administrators, ushers, builders, technicians; but it’s what the theatre gives back to the community that really counts.
The Playhouse has been central to the cultural identity of the city, the province, and the nation, for fifty years. Without such cultural institutions as this, we are diminished collectively. Our very hearts and souls and the hearts and souls of our community are tied to this theatre. One should fight with all of the demise of this company or any other cultural organization that has been so central to the development of cultural life here, as it represents the very voice of Vancouver.
Whether or not you are a regular theatre-goer in this community, you are a member of this community and this theatre belongs to you. It is through cultural institutions like this theatre that the collective voice is heard, that consciousness and art has a home and that life is breathed into the concrete and steal of this city. Vancouver needs culture to stay alive, vibrant, relevant; it’s more than just real estate.
Please call your City Councillor, your MPP, or your MP, and make your voice heard. Stand up for cultural life in this city; stand up for your city.
~ Morris Panych