It's a fantastic work. The artists have been putting their heart and soul into this play and we really hope it welcomes a great audience.
—Camilla Holland, general manger of MTC
The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre has announced it is closing down after staging productions in the city's downtown for 49 years. The company said Friday that its operation of the 655-seat theatre has built up a debt
exceeding $900,000. The final performance at the theatre will take place Saturday, March 17.
The theatre was set to present God of Carnage in April, a co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Camilla Holland, general manager of MTC confirmed today that this will not affect the Winnipeg run of the play, scheduled to open on Thursday, March 15th.
"We know that Winnipeggers will love this play," she said in conversation with Larry Updike of Up to Speed. "It's a fantastic work. The artists have been putting their heart and soul into this play and we really hope it welcomes a great audience."
Theatre companies across Canada rely increasingly on co-productions as a way of mantaining the level and quality of programming while helping to save some of the costs involved in mounting a work. In a co-production situation the two companies share the pre-production costs, including the development of the piece, rehearsal costs and the building of the show.
In this case, each company is meant to contribute $120,000. So far the Vancouver Playhouse has contributed only around 10% of what is owing. "It will be a significant hit to MTC if they're not able to honour that commitment," Holland admits.
With public and private sector funding remaining flat or declining in recent years, this is a very challenging time for theatre producers in Canada and the performing arts in general. As Holland says, "I think we're all finding it very difficult to balance the books."
While MTC's casual ticket sales have gone up this season, overall subscriptions are down.
Listen to Camilla Holland in conversation with Larry Updike: