Culture Heroes #1: Michael Healey
Michael Healey – Art by Jody Hewston
For the inaugural edition of our new series Culture Heroes by Jody Hewston, we look back at the past few months, and declare Michael Healey our clear Culture Hero of Summer, 2011.
In response to the Canadian Heritage department cutting its funding of Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival, Healey put out a call to action for all Artistic Directors of theatre companies that receive federal arts funding to come together in an act of solidarity for freedom of speech. His words were straight to the point:
If you find yourself anxious about the potential ramifications for your own company’s federal funding as a consequence of taking part in this demonstration, I can think of no better reason for participating in it.”
You can read an analysis of the SummerWorks Homegrown controversy here on the Praxis blog. Michael Healey’s own words in the Globe & Mail can be found here, and Globe theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck’s views on the matter here. A great backgrounder on the story, as well as a list of the companies who answered Healey’s call is available here on the Wrecking Ball blog.