The Past Doesn’t Ensure A Place In The Future

March 19, 2012

The closing of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company leaves me wondering about the state of arts and culture in BC. A 49-year-old institution that is an integral part of the theatre ecology has
been forced to make a heart-wrenching decision to close its doors. The impact of this loss, not just to the theatre community but to Vancouver as a whole will be felt for many years. So many artists
started their careers with the Playhouse, mentored by senior artists bringing magic to the stage. The artists, the audience and the community have lost their regional theatre creating an enormous
hole in the ecology of the Vancouver arts community.

 

When l think about the loss of such an important organization in relation to the Vancouver International Children?s Festival, it scares me to think  that large companies can fold at the drop of a
hat.

 

Our beloved Children?s Festival is 35 years old this year. Many would call it an important institution in Vancouver, and yet established companies can dissolve as easily as  fledgling ones. As I,
and the amazing team l work with, host some of the world?s best professional performing arts experiences for young audiences (and what is for many families, an annual tradition), the Playhouse
reminds us all thatwe cannot assume our past will ensure our future.

 

We remain steadfast in our belief that arts experiences opens young minds to endless possibilities, helps us express our feelings with or without words, develops critical thinking skills and
brings magic into our lives. And for that, we march on and remain hopeful that you, our community, will help us secure a place in your family?s present and future.

 

As l reflect on the past and consider what my most beloved memory of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company was, two very special moments came to mind.

 

The first was working alongside Chelsea McPeake in the remounting of Where the Blood Mixes written by Kevin Loring, which resulted in a Canada-wide tour with the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. This show
is outstanding, a perfect example of the importance of mentorship by then Playhouse Artistic Director Glynis Leyshon and the power of telling one?s story through a theatrical form.Where the Blood
Mixes made me laugh and cry, and the joy of being part of bringing the tour to life touches me deeply. Kevin won the 2009 Governor General Award in Drama for his Script.

 

The second is of the generosity extended by the Playhouse?s very busy Artistic and Managing Director Max Reimer who agreed to co-present a 2010 Holiday Concert with the Vancouver International
Children?s Festival starring Fred Penner, Charlotte Diamond, Norman Foote, Bobs and Lolo and Dolly Hopkins. The Festival was in desperate times and needed an infusion of cash to ensure its survival
into the following year. Despite my reluctance to ask for such a favour, Max immediately said ?Yes, of course,? and with the assistance of the amazing Playhouse staff, we produced a fun-filled event
for the many families who attended. If it wasn?t for him and the Playhouse team, we might not be here today.

 

I want to thank the many folks who have brought the work of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company to life over the past 49 years and give a huge shout-out to the current staff as they navigate
this difficult path.Thank you for all the support you have provided the Vancouver International Children’s Festival over the past 35 years!

 

Katharine Carol

Artistic and Executive Director