Archive for August, 2009

Diane Brown reacts to funding cuts

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by Rebecca Coleman

As of Friday, August 28, Ruby Slippers Theatre has lost $120,000 of BCAC funding. Artistic director, Diane Brown reacts in the following letter:

Dear Friends,

“The humanities done right are the crucible within which our evolving notions of what it means to be fully human are put to the test; they teach us, incrementally, endlessly, not what to do but how to be.”

Mark Slouka, in an article from Harpers Magazine, Dehumanized

Like dozens of arts organizations across British Columbia, Ruby Slippers Theatre had an agreement with the B.C. Government. In that agreement dated April 2008, they stated in writing that over the next three years, our company would receive $120,000 paid in $40,000 installments each spring. A legally binding agreement we assumed, we planned our seasons accordingly, hired people, signed contracts, rented theatres and rehearsal halls, bought advertising, etc. We completed one of our most successful seasons ever at the end of 2008/09.

We are still waiting for our 2008/09 installment of $40,000 and have just been told that it is not coming. In an email on Friday afternoon Aug. 28th, we were informed without any warning or any public consultation that after “a review” of the program, our money is not forthcoming. They are not honouring the agreement. They are not paying the money that they promised and owe us. Moreover, they are not honouring the rest of the agreement for the next two years. Ruby Slippers Theatre is now forced to cancel most of our 2009/10 season, break contracts with people, put people out of work, and look at the biggest deficit ever in our 20 year history.

In the business world, the government’s kind of behavior would result in lawsuits. They should be accountable and responsible for their agreements, and are guilty of breach of contract and public trust.

To slash and burn the arts and culture sector, one of the few sectors in B.C. that is actually stimulating the economy, is horrendously foolish and short sighted. It makes no economic sense, and absolutely no social sense. What then is the cultural legacy we are leaving our children? An Olympic t-shirt?

Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberals are destroying a sector in B.C. that was stimulating the economy and thereby financially benefiting all British Columbians, and laying waste to a rich cultural legacy for generations to come.

Diane Brown

Artistic Director

Ruby Slippers Theatre


The Great Thaw

Posted in Politics on August 26, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre

It’s a strange time of year to be excited about a thaw, but that’s exactly what is on the minds and tongues of many Vancouver theatre organizations.  Some time ago, the BC government put a freeze on $159 million dollars worth of Direct Access Gaming grants in order to undertake a “comprehensive review.”

Translated this means that many arts and culture organizations that had been promised money, including those who were awaiting a second installment of a multi-year grant, were frozen out.  Money that was due to be paid out in April was still locked up last week.

But, the thaw has come so we can all breathe easy.  The money is coming.  Right?

“Like other jurisdictions around the world, our government is facing unprecedented economic times that require some difficult decisions,” a ministry representative wrote in an e-mail to the Richmond News.

Social Development Minister Rich Coleman says “cheques are being sent but he warns grant priorities may have to be overhauled — and he says some applicants won’t receive their entire request, while others may get nothing at all.” (CBC reporting via Pierre Rivard)

So we are not out of the woods yet.  And as no information has been released regarding the results of this time-consuming review, the future is precarious at best.

The question we must now ask is, what will become of Vancouver theatre if the Gaming money gets played somewhere else?