Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
September 26, 2012, by

Factory Theatre boycott participants issue Public Statement on exit of Ken Gass from “debacle”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


“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. ”

Maja Ardal
Liza Balkan
Nancy Beatty
Steven Bush
Jack Blum
David Boechler
Mark Brownell
Richard Alan Campbell
Shari Caldwell
Cheryl Cashman
Alex Castillo-Smith
John Cleland
Sharon Corder
Laura de Carteret
David Christo
Jason Dietrich
Bruce Dow
Shawn Doyle
Atom Egoyan
David Ferry
Peter Feldman
Barry Flatman
Kelli Fox
Verne Good
Kyra Harper
Martha Henry
Kate Hewlett
Maggie Huculak
Stuart Hughes
C. David Johnson
Arsinée Khanjian
Jeanette Lambermont-Morey
Michelle Latimer
Diana LeBlanc
Paul Ledoux
Patricia Ludwick
Sallie Lyons
Kate Lynch
Joe Madziak
Sarah Manninen
Jefferson Mappin
Meridith McGeachie
Seana Mckenna
Elana McMurty
Andrew Moodie
Lisa Norton
Rahnuma Panthaky
Vickie Papavs
Soheil Parsa
Ronald Pederson
Gordon Pinsent
Irene Poole
Miles Potter
Geoffrey Pounsett
Susan Purdy
Fiona Reid
Kim Renders
Maria Ricossa
John Roby
Dani Romain
Jonathan Rooke
Lora Senechal Carney
Mike Sereny
Julie Stewart
Sally Szuster
Bill Talbot
Dylan Trowbridge
Joanne Vanicola
Patricia Vanstone
Sugith Varughese
George F. Walker
Brendan Wall
David S. Young
Margaret Zeidler

Re-blogged from comment left on previous post “Factory Theatre appoints “Interim Artistic Team”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Philip Akin says:

    “black asterisk” “black mark” ?????????????? Really? Cause we all know that in this society being black is synonymous with being bad. Some days I despair and then I just move on.


  2. T. Taitt says:

    Wow. As I was reading this and got to the term “black asterisk”, my first thought was “Huh?” What about the point that was trying to be made couldn’t simply have been made with the word “asterisk”? I was quite taken aback. And then I went on to read about the horrible “black mark” that needs to be expunged. Again, what part of “Only then can this mark be expunged from the Factory’s inspiring history” would have been unclear?

    At the time that I had these thoughts, I had not read the other comment under this post. However I certainly was not surprised to see that the phrases used had struck someone else in the same way. We as theatre artists live by the word. We have an intimacy relationship with the power of language. It blows my mind that as enlightened and evolved as the community likes to consider itself, more care could not have been taken to contemplate the weight of your descriptors. It may seem incidental and innocuous. It’s not.

  3. […] two playwrights withdrawing their productions; a petition signed by more than 4,000 people; and a boycott (which—disclosure—I have endorsed) organized by some of Canada’s most prominent theatre […]