After learning their Heritage Canada funding was cut, Canada’s largest juried theatre festival took it to the people with a fundraising drive
Toronto, ON — Across the country, arts patrons, organizations and artists are banding together to support the SummerWorks Theatre Festival. Just over a week ago, the festival was given word that their federal funding would no longer be renewed. In order to fill the gap in their budget, Festival Artistic Producer Michael Rubenfeld sent a note asking for donations. Over 400 people have donated to a total of $34,272. The Festival is close to reaching its goal of $48,000 and hopes to continue fundraising efforts year round.
Rubenfeld says, “The results of our fundraising drive have been astounding. We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve received and think it’s a testament to how valuable SummerWorks and the arts really are to Canadians.” He adds, “We are indebted to our patrons for coming to our aid this year, but recognize that we are still in need of stable financial partnerships for subsequent years.”
In addition to showcasing some of the best theatre Ontario has to offer, SummerWorks puts on an annual National Series, which presents works from across Canada. The loss of Heritage Canada’s funding put the National Series at risk. The Festival is thrilled to announce that due to their fundraising efforts and the support of Canadians across the country the National Series will go on this year as planned.
Several industry professionals, Canadian artists, writers, producers and media personalities have come out in support of the Festival.
Mark Ellis, co-creator of the television series Flashpoint says, “SummerWorks is a perfect festival. It offers its audience affordable, quality entertainment, showcasing emerging artists and new works. Without grassroots arts funding, we would have no Stratford, no Soulpepper, no symphonies. Without SummerWorks, we would have no Flashpoint. Stephanie Morgenstern and I met at SummerWorks in 1996 and went on to create a television show that puts millions of dollars into the Canadian economy and reaches audiences around the world. “
Hannah Moscovitch, playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre and award-winning author of East of Berlin comments that, “SummerWorks offers the best of new Canadian performance before it hits the big-time. The festival acts as a springboard for Canadian talent. It’s because of SummerWorks that my plays have toured nationally and internationally, sold out theatres, and won awards. Like many other Canadian writers, premiering work at the festival launched my career.”
Comments from other anonymous donors include:
“I am more than happy to invest in our community’s cultural and economic growth through SummerWorks, and I wish you all the best in furthering what has become one of Toronto’s greatest assets.”
“SummerWorks is an essential part of our community and our city. Let’s knock this one out of the park.”
“From an aspiring young Canadian actor, please keep doing what you’re doing.”
“SummerWorks is one of the most valuable theatre Festivals in this country. You are wonderful, courageous and an important asset to our theatrical culture.”
“The arts matter!”
For information on donating please visit http://www.summerworks.ca/2011/donate.php/.
High res photos: http://www.summerworks.ca/2011/media-photo-gallery.php
Media accreditation for 2011 Festival: http://www.summerworks.ca/2011/media-accreditation.php
About SummerWorks Theatre Festival:
As the largest juried festival in Canada featuring predominantly New Canadian plays, SummerWorks programs a festival that uniquely reflects Toronto and Canada’s cultural zeitgeist. Since 1991, SummerWorks has continued to explore and respond to the needs and wants of audiences and the theatre community. The festival has grown to become of the country’s preeminent multi-disciplinary hubs featuring a Music Series, a mentorship program (SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program –S.L.I.P.); and the National Series, showcasing works from across Canada. The festival adds new initiatives yearly, including performance based programs such as this years Art Bar. The 2011 SummerWorks festival runs August 4th to 14th in venues across Toronto.
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