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by Michael Wheeler
Surprise! The theatrosphere has been a busy place with a number of interesting conversations to take note of:
- The Canada Council is launching “a dialogue about how the arts bring value to the lives of Canadians”. Vice Chair, and No Culture, No Future author Simon Brault has written a blog post about this policy initiative titled, “Arts For All!.
- U of T Prof Holger Syme continues to put out complex posts that challenge conventional wisdom driving TO theatre. In his post “Theatre does not tell Stories” he summarizes his critique as, “theatre can’t tell stories, because stories are always necessarily retrospective. And theatre isn’t about the past. It’s about the present.
- Meanwhile Theatre Passe Muraille Artistic Director Andy McKim was on to a similar critique of contemporary drama when he reblogged (with an intro) a speech by Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz at the at the TCG American Theatre annual AGM titled Theatrical Innovation: Whose Job Is It? Core takeaway: innovation in North American theatre is way behind what’s going on in Europe and it is hurting the art form, which is attached to outdated models. Time to move off the ‘assembly line’ of play creation and into a laboratory in which collaborators reinvent the medium.
- Luminato AD Jorn Weisbrodt has started blogging on the festival’s website. His post titled Postcards from the Pool documents an exclusive trip he and husband Rufus Wainright took to the Hearst Castle where the newlyweds recieved VIP treatment while lounging poolside – complete with shirtless photos! In the post he reflects on his good luck to recieve an invitation to stay overnight in a period where the castle was closed to tourists. Weisbrodt was able to experience, “Hearst’s overwhelming vision, his desire to change reality and make this place the greatest private residence in the world.”
- My recent post Mirvish blows up downtown Toronto theatre, argued that the Mirvish/Gehry re-development on King St. could be a good thing if it included a 500-seat venue and mixed-income housing. Globe critic Kelly Nestruck and National Post Political Journalist Jonathan Goldsbie both wrote in support of a smaller venue recently, while The Grid’s Edward Keenan came out in support of inclusionary zoning, noting it is already the law in places like Vancouver and San Francisco.
- Shit – looks like the National Post arts section just got merged with the sports section. No worries free market-loving art fans, The Republican Theatre Festival “will invite writers to share their stories of lives impacted by Republican ideals.”