This evening (6:57 PM), the Factory Theatre Board of Directors sent out, via email, the following statement:
Statement from the Board of Directors of Factory TheatreFactory Theatre Board says the show will go onBoard members back plans for future theatre developmentToronto, ON (June 27, 2012) – Ron Struys, the President of the Board of Factory Theatre, today commented on the future of Factory Theatre.“It is never easy to part with someone who has contributed so much in the past to Factory Theatre and theatre in general as has Ken Gass.” Struys said. “The Board believed that change was necessary to insure the future of this wonderful institution. Factory Theatre is in great shape and we are moving ahead with our new season and plans to renovate our building.”An offer of a newly created, paid, position as Artistic Director Emeritus and a severance package was offered to Mr. Gass , but was not accepted. The Board is focused now on finding a new Artistic Director from the pool of great Canadian talent within the theatre community. 2012-13 season will go ahead, offering Factory Theatre’s loyal audience challenging, exciting works of theatre.
“The Board appreciates the support it has received from donors, both private and public, patrons, and our staff,” said Struys. “We are heartened to see how strongly people feel about the work produced at Factory; we look forward to demonstrating to those thousands of people that Factory will continue to adhere to its mission of supporting vital Canadian theatre and artists and mounting great productions. Because so much of the discussion has been based on mis-information, below the Board is providing some answers to questions that address much of what has been debated.Q: Why did the Board make this decision?A: The Board had been having discussions with Ken Gass for many months about the plans for the future of the Theatre. There were irreconcilable differences and in the interest of the future of the Theatre, the Board had an obligation to act in what it believes is the best interest of Factory Theatre.Q: Ken Gass founded the Theatre. Does the Board have more power than the Founder?A: It is true that Ken Gass, with Frank Trotz, founded the Theatre in 1970 and we and many others appreciate that the country has this wonderful institution to which he gave life. However, it is the Board that has the legal responsibility for the Theatre, its financial health and its ability to carry its charitable aims forward, including hiring the Artistic Director and the Managing Director. We operate no differently than other similar theatres. It is our mandate to act in the best interests of the Factory Theatre, its patrons, artists, donors, staff and assets. We take this mandate seriously.Q. Judging by the comments in the media, it would seem that many of the artistic community oppose your decision. Can Factory Theatre succeed without the support of this community?A. First, on behalf of the Board, we truly regret that those artists, whom we value and on whom we rely to create such outstanding theatre, are upset. We acknowledge there is always a healthy tension between the creative community and the Boards that are responsible for the organizations. That said, there is little truth to what has been said about the Board’s decision. We look forward to the opportunity in the near future to explain our vision to those artists who believe in Factory Theatre and the opportunities it may offer them.Q. What is the Board’s vision?A. The Board has a longtime, funded commitment to make the Theatre accessible to all who want to see the plays of Factory artists and to improve facilities for our artists. We must and will do this. At the same time, we do have longer term plans to make the facility the great space it can be, both central to its growing and vibrant neighbourhood and as a welcoming facility in which to continue to produce exciting theatre. And we do intend to pursue those plans as we raise the money. But as anyone in the non profit artistic community can appreciate, we cannot take funding for granted. We know that there is a lot of pressure on our generous funders and donors. We will approach them withappropriate and achievable operational and infrastructure planning that will support of the work of artists and enhance and grow Factory Theatre audiences.For more information about Factory Theatre, please visit http://factorytheatre.ca.