No rest for the weary this week as I spent yesterday afternoon at the first of four public consultations for spending priorities for the new arts funding. Online surveys and other consult dates are here. It was an interesting afternoon, with a full house and a great deal of discussion on spending and where artists and arts workers envision this new money going. I hope the responses are taken seriously by those collecting them, and thoughtfully added into the grand scheme of things. And I hope the momentum of the past year is maintained. It needs to be.
Sometimes Hearing is Believing The Whipping Man is running for another week and I urge you to go and see it. Some wonderful work there.
Brendan Healy wrote an extremely brave letter last week. From Torontoist – It’s no secret that many of Toronto’s theatre companies have seen the numbers of paying customers coming through their doors shrink over the last few years. Companies have had to adjust in response—a process known euphemistically as “right-sizing.” But when the artistic director of one of Toronto’s most iconic companies—which Buddies In Bad Times, “the largest facility-based queer theatre company in the world,” definitely is—has to write a letter to the citizens of Toronto (theatre-going or not) expressing his surprise at low attendance for a new play from one of Canada’s most acclaimed and accomplished playwrights (Daniel MacIvor’s Arigato, Tokyo, in this instance), there’s a problem. ADs are not usually ones to admit a show, especially one they’ve directed themselves, isn’t performing up to their expectations in the box office.
TAPA has been working for quite some time on documenting and understanding these numbers. Quick article in the Globe and Mail last week –
Healy’s actions come less than a month after he attended a meeting to which the invited the artistic directors of some 185 professional theatre, dance and opera companies “to discuss the current climate … the current challenges.”
Details of the March 11 meeting are confidential. Nevertheless, it’s likely attendance was discussed as TAPA, established in 1979, has been gathering statistics for almost 10 years with respect to Toronto performing arts. In a brief interview Thursday, TAPA executive director Jacoba Knaapen noted that between 2005-06 and 2009-10, ticket sales to professional theatre, dance and opera performances declined by eight per cent, going to 2.3-million tickets purchased from 2.5-million.
Giving a workshop in Social Media 101 for DTRC’s Living Creatively conference. I like the setup of this one – Tierney of Tech Soup is doing the tech part, I am doing the social part. I like new formats, and am looking forward to seeing who’s there.
Off into the day. Apparently it’s spring. I wish I could see more proof of that.
OH! Was at the opening of Opera Atelier’s the Magic Flute last night – so, so beautiful. Go and see if you can. It’s an easy intro opera – populist if you will, it’s in English and it’s a singspiel and it’s wonderful to see so many people under the age of twenty, heck, under the age of twelve at the opera and loving it.