Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Devil's Advocate, Question #2

Space Cadets?

(see all Devil's Advocate Topics so far)

In many countries, the state acquires venues which might be converted into theatre spaces. In Canada, "found spaces" like Espace Go's original mechanic's garage and Mainline's strange walkup continue to dot the landscape. But, often, the spaces are uncomfortable, have hideous bathroom facilities, lousy parking and absolutely nothing to draw a spectator beyond the play. (And as one pundit once told us: people don't always remember a play, but they remember a great parking space.) Scratch a Canadian theatre practitioner and you get complaints about lack of small and mid-size venues. However, many companies are banding together to create real spaces like Maison Théâtre (a YPT venue) in Montreal and La Nouvelle Scène, shared by four companies in Ottawa. So what's the problem? 

Do Canadian companies lack imagination or wherewithal when it comes to venues?


  1. That's an odd question, framing it as lack of imagination. I think it takes an awful lot of imagination to look at a disused brothel-cum-auto-repair-shop and think "You know, I bet people would be willing to pay $10 to sit in folding chairs and crane their necks the whole night just to watch a shitty production of Glengarry Glen Ross".

    Indiscreetly, it's also been my experience that small-to-medium-sized venues are readily accessible. Scratch a public library system, university, high school or community centre and you'll find a wide assortment of small-to-medium-sized performance spaces available for cheap.

    But there seems to be an odd cachet associated with performing in completely inappropriate venues. (Maybe a high school gymnatorium just isn't "cool" enough, even if you can get it for

  2. I agree it takes imagination - but it also takes imagination to wear a tinfoil hat! Is it possible, looking at your response from another angle, that there is also a lack of business sense?

  3. Hell,every non-profit, non-city-owned space in Toronto is found space. I have a problem with the premise itself.


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