Theatre as the site of grassroots social protest? Check out what's in store for the opening night of the elite Stratford Festival up north...
The groups have said they are targetting Stratford's black tie event because the opening night gala usually draws both prominent government officials and business and community leaders, "a Who's Who of the rich and vile," according to a notice on the OCAP [Ontario Coalition Against Poverty] website.
They also picked the Shakespearean festival because it receives funding from the Ontario government. According to a festival spokesperson, government grants contributed four per cent of Stratford's 2006 budget, with 78 per cent coming from box office and ancillary revenues, 16 per cent from fundraising and two per cent from its endowment foundation.
While we in the US envy the kind of committed state subsidy that makes a such major repertory theatre enterprise possible, here's a glimpse of the dark side: protesting arts funding from the populist left. A new spin on the "elitism" rap, which we're used to hearing from the likes of Newt Gingrich.
Well at least it sounds like theatre matters there. I mean, it's Coriolanus!
According to a release posted on various websites, the demonstration aims to shut down or otherwise disrupt Monday's opening night performance of Coriolanus, which stars Colm Feore and Martha Henry.
Colm Fiore does rock, I must say, so I admit to feeling conflicted!
And what better play to serve as a backdrop to class conflict. Gunter Grass couldn't have written a better scenario.