Artscape has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. As of March 16th they closed all community hubs for three weeks including Weston and according to nowtoronto.com laid off 54 staff members. On top of that, artists at the 34 John Street Weston Hub live / work spaces are feeling the pinch of cancelled gigs and will not be paying rent when it comes due tomorrow. Non-profit Artscape told tenants that they could defer paying half of their April rent but artists have issued a press release stating that they won’t pay anything at all.
Since the closure is likely to continue far beyond April 6, and with revenues dwindling, Artscape may soon be scrambling for its own existence.
Do you dream of taking the stage?
Have you always wanted to create, perform or design for a theatre play?
Are you over the age of 55?
Now’s your chance!
Shakespeare in Action with the support of the New Horizons For Seniors Program is proud to produce King Lear in Weston, a community-engaged theatre project that is created by and for seniors living in northwest Toronto.
SHAKESPEARE FOR KIDS SUMMER CAMP
has a NEW HOME for 2020!Now in conjunction with SHAKESPEARE IN THE SHELL, The Groundlings (ages 7-11) and King’s Company (ages 12 – 15) will design, rehearse, and perform a play on the by the Artscape Weston Common, Shakespeare in Action’s new home!
Last week, I made a case that we should have a commercial relationship with all the new builders in Weston. They want to break the planning guidelines. I think they should pay to do so.
I also asked how you thought the (as-yet-imaginary) money should be spent. 59 people responded. Thank you! Here are the results. (They don’t add up to 59 because people could vote for more than one option.)
Many people noted that the new-new Farmers’ Market isn’t looking good and asked for a new-new-new one. That wasn’t the most popular option though: the most people voted for a YMCA-style space. I too think that would be just fantastic. Tied for third were a recreation space for young people and a scholarship fund. Damned fine ideas, if I do say so myself.
Peering into the data, I think we could safely say that a YMCA-style space would be just super, because it could provide all of the top options, as well as a few of the less popular ones:
Programming for youth
A stuff-bank for tools, food, clothing, and computers
Another, closer, and perhaps less popular gym
Perhaps even a community daycare, which we have been missing for six years
Tonight’s the last night to see A Christmas Carol by Shakespeare in Action with the Weston Silver Band. Robin Breon, a theatre reviewer, gives it a rave review:
I’ve seen quite a number of Carols over the years and this one (to paraphrase Dickens) was as good A Christmas Carol as any good old city knew, or any other good old city, village, borough or town in the good old world!
Kiowa Wind McComb was stabbed to death outside Gucci’s Bar and Grill on Jane Street in 2016. He was the Indigenous Youth Intern at the ROM at the time of his death.
“We did get a question about the wind in the hair of the horses, so we talked about Kiowa,” recalls McCue. “I got a little bit more emotional than I thought I would.”
Lauren Lavallee had been dating McComb for two years at the time of his death. She was at the unveiling and was gifted a shawl, a cultural tradition for a grieving person, and only realized the nod to McComb in the mural after McCue explained it.
Michael Kelly, Artistic Director at Shakespeare in Action has been accused of ‘making a racist remark’ by actors working on the production of ‘Sound and Fury’. The show, scheduled for Friday November 22nd was cancelled by SIA’s board of directors as a result of the accusations. The theatre company was chosen to be a co-tenant in the Artscape Weston Hub and began its residence earlier this year.
“Statement from Board of Directors, Shakespeare in Action
ON NOVEMBER 12, 2019, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SHAKESPEARE IN ACTION (SIA) BECAME AWARE OF ALLEGED ACTIONS TAKEN BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MICHAEL KELLY DURING A REHEARSAL OF “SOUND AND FURY” ON NOVEMBER 9, 2019. HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED BY ACTORS WHO WERE EMPLOYED BY THE COMPANY OF MAKING A RACIST REMARK.
The SIA Board has taken immediate steps to suspend Michael Kelly from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action and is conducting a full investigation into this incident. We are making every effort to speak with all parties involved and hope to conclude this investigation swiftly and fairly. We are also taking steps to ensure lasting organizational changes and improved policies are put in place to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future.
It is of paramount importance to the Board and Shakespeare in Action that its performance spaces are safe and inclusive for all people regardless of creed, ethnic origin, place of origin, race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We believe it is our duty to ensure that all employees and actors feel safe, included and respected when working with the Company.
We regret any pain caused to actors, stage crew, SIA staff and anyone else involved and are working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. We anticipate concluding our investigation by November 25th, 2019 and will issue a further statement at that time. “
This statement from the Shakespeare in Action Board of Directors was released on Monday November 25.
“The Board of Directors of Shakespeare in Action has concluded its investigation into the actions taken by artistic director Michael Kelly during a rehearsal of “Sound and Fury” on November 9th, 2019.
The Board of SIA is aware that more than two weeks have now elapsed since November 9th, and it remains committed to a timely resolution. However, the Board would like to avoid acting hastily and rashly while it considers the findings of its investigation. The Board will deliver its findings and recommendations no later than the end of the week.
In the interim, Michael Kelly continues to remain suspended from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action.”