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September 17, 2009, by

Indie Caucus endorsed candidates explain why they are running for Ontario CPAG

Mark Brownell



My reason for running for the Equity’s Ontario CPAG is this: A few years ago a decision was made by Equity to withdraw funds from Equity Showcase. As most independent theatre people in Toronto know, Showcase was a vital rehearsal resource to Equity artists in this city. That incident, as well as concerns about the handling of indie contracts by the staff and current council at Equity, was a wake-up call for me. I was forced to consider a more proactive involvement with Equity. I believe member/creators risk losing a voice at our Association if we succumb to apathy when important decisions are being made on our behalf. I am going to fight for Equity member/creators in the GTA to receive equal and fair treatment by our Association.

Vinetta Strombergs



I am running for the Ontario CPAG as a result of attending the AGM where the large turnout was primarily due to a pressing issue affecting members who are trying to create original theatre in tough economic times. I have served previously on Council and the National Executive and also chaired the Directors and Choreographers Committee. I believe my experience and perspective will be useful in ongoing discussions related to developing new agreements that do not undermine our existing collective agreements but also recognize our need to practice our artform and create theatre that reflects our individual passions and talent. Creating theatre is as important to our artistic development as taking classes to improve our skills. We are not just actors, directors and stage managers, some us are also creaters and therefore become producers. We need to examine the distinctions Equity makes when dealing with its own members in this regard. Even though Equity is a national organization, I think we can take into account regional differences in the same way that we recognize opera and ballet agreements are different from theatre and Stratford is different from Shaw. I would also like to explore new ways of cutting down excessive paperwork without jeopardizing security and accountability.

Aaron Willis



I am an actor, director, and Equity member since 2003. As a member who creates and produces theatre at the independent level, I am running for Ontario CPAG to help represent the voices of artists who, in order to bring their work to the stage, often take on a multitude of production responsibilities over and above the creation of their art.

Independent theatre artists who are members of CAEA and who attempt to create and mount our own work often find ourselves in an unnecessarily adversarial relationship with our own Association. If we are to continue generating new work, nurturing the development of new and diverse artists on our stages, and ensuring the viability of young theatre companies, it is essential that all members of CAEA who have a vested interest in these things make their voices heard, or risk decisions being made on our behalf without our input. We must be transparent about the frustrations and obstacles that we face, and we must continue to recommend and advocate for new models of engagement that more accurately & adequately reflect the evolving needs of the artists. These models of engagement must be as innovative as the work being created.

As your CPAG representative I intend to stand for the voices of those CAEA members who, despite the countless obstacles, bravely continue to create and produce their own work when no one else will. These member-creators not only provide constant work opportunities for other Equity members, they are the life-force of independent theatre in this city, and across the country.

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