Little Black Rain Clouds

26th November 2008 was not a good day for the arts in Canada.

Trouble in Paradise

  • The Vancouver Ballet has laid off all its employees except for a few administrators due to a sharp decline in tickets sales this season. At the moment, reports indicated that this turn of events was not due to mismanagement of funds but rather the simple fact that people are not buying ticket to performances. Although the official statement is that this is due to the economic downturn, there have been some murmurings that the ballet has lost the plot somewhat in terms of its programming choices.

    Always a cash cow for any company, the Christmas production of The Nutcracker is being pushed as a way to save the ballet, with only 64% of the 11,000 available tickets needed to ensure the rest of the season will go on. According to a Times-Colonist article by Kevin Griffin, the ballet has only sold 2000 tickets for the four day run at the end of December.

    Two telephone calls and an email message requesting comment and clarification were not returned at the time of publishing. As such, it is not yet know if the Nutcracker show itself is in jeopardy or what would losses subscribers and single ticket holders would have to absorb if the company goes under.

Encore firing for cellist

  • Two provinces to the east, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra has fired its principal cellist Linda Bardutz for the second time in eleven months. An account in the Star Phoenix indicates that straw the broke the camel’s back, as it were, was a breach of contract on the part of the musician.

    Saskatoon Symphony general manager SSO general manager Catherine McKeehan said that she does not consider [this] to be a firing, but rather a termination. Considering Miss Mussel’s dictionary uses the exact same phrase to define both terms, this statement has now jumped to the front of the line for the 2008 Best Splitting Of A Non-Existent Hair Award.

    Both sides are being rather tight-lipped about the situation and it is thought that it will be some time before this is fully resolved.

    Incidentally, this is the same orchestra that is being sued by its former conductor, Douglas Sanford, for harassment. Bardutz, along with several other musicians, is one of the defendants in the suit.


  1. Maurizio

    So, as I see in the first part of the article, not only in Italy the situation of the theatres (in particular) and of the Arts & Culture (in general) is dramatic…..

    If I can justify the decline in ticket sale, in a period of global economic crisis, what I can neither understand nor justify is the misconsideration in which our politicians keep every form of culture.
    Hearing, every day at the TV, the voices of these proudly ignorants remind me to the Afghan talibans who bombed (reporting live their performance!) their own unique artistic heritage some year ago…..

  2. Miss Mussel

    Many arts organizations in Canada are hanging on in an increasingly precarious manner. We have more government funding than American organizations but, on the whole, we don’t have the endowment funds to tide us through the rough times.

    If any organization has been the victim of poor money management, we will find out in the next year or so. Hopefully there will be enough ticket sales to keep everything afloat.

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