Factory Theatre boycott participants issue Public Statement on exit of Ken Gass from “debacle”
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
A PUBLIC STATEMENT:
“It is with sadness that we, the undersigned participants of the Factory Boycott of 2012, witness Ken Gass’s honourable exit from the whole debacle. We respect Ken’s decision to do so and understand his desire to move on. However:
While we do not want to impinge on fellow artists who need or desire to make their art on the stages of that venerable old dame, Factory Theatre, we believe that theatre artists are, and must be, responsible for the actions they take when dealing with unacceptable theatre governance.
Therefore we cannot move on without reiterating that the board of Factory theatre has behaved in an appallingly disrespectful and off-handed manner, not only towards Ken Gass but to the 4000 plus people who signed a petition protesting the board actions, the significant group of artists and other citizens who participated in the Factory boycott and, indeed, all of The Factory’s stakeholders within the community.
We believe the nine directors on the board showed and continue to show contempt for the artists and arts supporters who asked simply for meaningful dialogue, respectful action and serious mediation in this sorry affair. As long as the current board still reigns, there will be a black asterisk next to the name of Factory theatre.
It is our belief that Mr. Struys and his cohorts entered into the process cynically and in bad faith. Both prior to and during the month of August they ignored mediation opportunities that might have saved the season from collapse. Only 36 hours before the start of mediation the Board appointed an interim artistic director team charged with finding replacement shows. This pre-empted any meaningful possibility of Gass’s involvement in the season should mediation be successful. Given the board’s steadfast refusal to respond to any community demands over the past three months, is it surprising that mediation failed?
Is this what the artists, Factory supporters and audiences deserve?
Our answer is a resounding; “No!”
Mr. Struys and the Factory board may feel today that they have simply “played a hand” well, that their policies of stonewalling and intransigence have paid off. However, there is no justice here, only shame. We believe there can be no true peace in this community unless and until the current Factory board resigns. Furthermore we wish for an engaged, renewed Factory board and membership that will be committed to putting in place a code of conduct that respects artists’ moral right to determine how our theatres are run.
We urge the various arts councils (OAC, TAC, CC), foundations and artist organizations engaged in collective bargaining to proactively engage our theatres in a dialogue about Board conduct. In the end the broader issue of who owns our theatres and artist participation in the governance of the institutions we have built must be addressed.
We fervently believe that only then we will be able to truly move forward. Only then can we go about healing the wounds within the community. Only then can this black mark be expunged from the Factory’s inspiring history. ”
Richard Alan Campbell
Laura de Carteret
C. David Johnson
Lora Senechal Carney
George F. Walker
David S. Young
Re-blogged from comment left on previous praxistheatre.com post “Factory Theatre appoints “Interim Artistic Team”.