Concerns raised about MTYP's future at town hall
Supporters of the Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) met on Wednesday night to demand answers about the future of the financially troubled organization.
About 90 people gathered at The Forks Market for a town hall meeting, in the hopes of challenging the theatre company's board of directors about the organization, which is currently dealing with $1.6 million in debt.
"Without trust, transparency and full disclosure on the part of the MTYP board, how long will MTYP be able to continue?" said Kim Zeglinski, who organized the event.
Parents of MTYP's young actors wanted to find out more about the financial struggles the company is facing.
"Are programs going to continue? I mean, this is something that my kids have come to really rely on. It's a big part of their life," said Robert Marsh.
Derek Aasland, MTYP's newly hired executive producer, came to Wednesday's town hall meeting and listened to the concerns being raised.
"Nobody wants anything to happen to that place because it is so beloved and it makes such a difference in the lives of children," he said.
In terms of what he will be doing, Aasland said, "I have to take it one day at a time in terms as managing all things, in terms of the finances, meeting with the board."
No one from the board of directors came to the town hall, but Zeglinski distributed an emailed response she received from board president Gloria Koop.
In it, Koop wrote, "MTYP is actively updating its administrative practices and looks forward to an exciting season and future!"
"The artistic and economic plans are always long term in nature and have not changed other than adapting them as necessary for immediate changes in the economic and artistic environment," Koop also wrote.
Aasland, a former MTYP actor himself, said he has the support of longtime artistic director Leslee Silverman, who was dismissed from the organization last month.
Organizers of Wednesday's town hall have formed a coalition, MTYP Friends, with the goal of fighting for the theatre company's survival.