Independent Ottawa theatre companies Gruppo Rubato and Mi Casa Theatre are working together to host a fundraising event for Toronto’s Summerworks Theatre Festival, who recently learned they did not receive a major grant they had applied for, leaving a 20% budgetary shortfall to make up less than a month before the 2011 Festival opens.
On Friday July 15th, Ottawa will join in solidarity with theatre companies across the country in the simultaneous presentation of a staged reading of Catherine Frid’s Homegrown. With the support of the Great Canadian Theatre Company, this local presentation will take place at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, with all proceeds being donated to Summerworks.
Originally produced by Toronto’s Aluna Theatre at the 2010 Summerworks Festival, Homegrown became one of the most talked about productions at the festival and of the Canadian Theatre season before it had even opened.
An exploration of Canadian justice system issues around the Toronto 18 terrorism case – Homegrown was criticized by the Prime Minister’s Office for purportedly showing terrorists in a positive light. Before having seen the script or the production, the Prime Minister’s Office said, “We are extremely disappointed that public money is being used to fund plays that glorify terrorism.” Weeks before the opening of SummerWorks 2011, Canadian Heritage pulled their annual funding from the festival. The reason being put forward by the Federal Government: it’s a simple example of the arts community feeling entitled to funding. The actual sequence of events, however, points clearly in the direction of punitive action, attempting to stifle conversation about essential Canadian issues.
“It’s important for the Ottawa community to take part in this national event,” says Gruppo Rubato Artistic Director Patrick Gauthier. “Summerworks is an extremely important festival, allowing artists a venue to take artistic risks and develop new work before it gets picked up by presenters and agents across the country”
The reading, directed by Mi Casa Theatre co-Artistic Director Emily Pearlman, will also feature Ottawa artists Nick Di Gaetano, Todd Duckworth, Mary Ellis, Kris Joseph, and Greg Kramer.
“I think it’s fantastic that the theatre community is showing this support for the Festival,” said Michael Rubenfeld, Artistic Director of SummerWorks. “It shows what a valuable place it holds in both the Toronto and national arts scene. We’re very grateful.”
To donate to SummerWorks, please visit www.canadahelps.org. Proceeds from the Ottawa event will go the festival.
Please visit www.thewreckingball.ca for a complete list of companies involved across Canada.
SUMMERWORKS FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER
Written by Catherine Frid
Directed by Emily Pearlman
Featuring Nick Di Gaetano, Todd Duckworth, Mary Ellis, Kris Joseph, and Greg Kramer
Friday, July 15th, 2011; 8:00 pm (doors at 7:30 pm)
Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
Admission is by donation ($10 suggested)
Want more info?
COMPANIES INVOLVED: www.thewreckingball.ca
DONATE TO SUMMERWORKS:www.summerworks.ca/2011/donate.php
OPEN LETTER FROM MICHAEL HEALEY: www.thewreckingball.ca/blog/375/a-message-to-artistic-directors-of-canadian-theatres
SUPPORTING LOCAL COMPANIES
A Company of Fools www.fools.ca
Evolution Theatre www.evolutiontheatre.ca
Great Canadian Theatre Company www.gctc.ca
Gruppo Rubato www.rubato.ca
Mi Casa Theatre www.micasatheatre.com
New Theatre of Ottawa www.newtheatreottawa.com