Since Caleb Marshall took over as executive director of the Sudbury Theatre Centre three years ago, he's promoted the notion that theatre is for the people and about the people and has welcomed both good and bad feedback from the community.
However, one recent anonymous comment posted on the theatre's board is prompting him to respond publically.
Marshall sums up the comment as having two main points: 'get better plays or lose members', and it also stated 'No more Canadian crap — try U.S. plays [and] no more ethnic ones neither.'
"I was a little stunned," Marshall admits. "I decided it might be a platform to have a bit of a broader conversation about why we do what we do and why it's important."
Marshall says he understands some people really enjoy Broadway musicals that are familiar, and adds the centre works to bring in those productions.
"But it is essential that we have Canadian content," he said. "I absolutely believe it is the right thing to do. We have share our stories. We have to see how we fit into the world at large."
Sudbury has diversity, theatre director says
As for the second part of the comment, Marshall says the theatre is meant for all in the community.
"Sudbury does have diversity," he said.
Marshall adds the centre continues to work to diversify its programming so it appeals to a wider audience. He said the centre is working to find a balance.
"We want entertainment. We want big offerings that appease to a broad demographic. We try to find comedy and musicals and satire and drama," he said.
"We certainly are looking for balance."
Marshall says he continues to welcome feedback from the community on the programming the centre does.