Civil Debates 2: Arts Boards

On Friday, March 15 we held our inaugural Civil Debate in partnership with Praxis Theatre which focused on the Creative Cities theories of Richard Florida.

4 invited debaters tackled the following resolution: Be it resolved that the Creative Cities theories serve to reinforce dominant class structures, with Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Darren O’Donnell and Executive Director of Trinity Square Video, Roy Mitchell arguing on the YEA side, while Kevin Stolarick, Research Director at The Martin Prosperity Institute, and Sabra Ripley, Masters of Public Health in community development and health promotion, and activist with BeautifulCity, argued on the NAY side.

At times passionate, the debate often shifted into a conversational mode, which was what we’d been aiming for by calling the series “civil”. It was great to see a packed Pop-Up,  lots of new faces, and turning the discussion over to the audience led to some of the most heated moments of the evening.

Everyone in the audience had an opportunity to vote for a side on their way out by dropping a poker chip into the “yea” or “nay” bags. The Yeas won the debate, with 45 votes to 19.

After a successful first debate, we’re excited to announce the debaters for the second debates of the series:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

Debating in favour of the resolution:

Franco Boni:
The Theatre Centre’s General & Artistic Director Franco Boni has led the organization since 2003, and he is currently working on building its permanent home. Franco is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator and community builder with a demonstrated track record of restoring financial stability and artistic credibility for local art organizations and festivals for over two decades.

He served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival and Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival.

He is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, and was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, recognizing his outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto.

Brendan Healy:
Originally from Montreal, Brendan began his career as an actor, appearing most-notably in Peter Hinton’s production of Greg MacArthur’s Girls! Girls! Girls!, presented at the 2001 TransAmériques Festival.

Since relocating to Toronto over a decade ago, Brendan has established himself as a central figure in the city’s theatre scene and his work has been presented across the country. Notable productions include: Jean Genet’s The Maids, Nina Arsenault’s The Silicone Diaries, Sarah Kane’s Blasted, Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies and Wallace Shawn’s A Thought in Three Parts.

Brendan is a graduate of the National Theatre School’s Directing Program. His productions have garnered multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards and he is a recipient of the Ken McDougall and the Pauline McGibbon awards for directing. Brendan was the associate artist at Crow’s Theatre before becoming the Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times and he is a regular instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada.

Debating against the resolution:

Gideon Arthurs:
Gideon is the General Manager of Tarragon Theatre and Artistic Producer for Groundwater Productions. He is the former Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Before that he worked as Company Manager at Soulpepper Theatre and in fundraising at Ryerson University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, where he was the past chair of the Media Relations Committee and works with the Indie Caucus, and is on the Board for STAF.

Prior board service includes Pleiades Theatre (Secretary), Public Recordings (Treasurer), and the Paprika Festival (President). He has produced and directed numerous independent theatre productions at Fringe festivals, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, FemFest, Uno Festival and Summerworks. He also has two amazing daughters, Olive and Tallulah, who are his primary preoccupation.

Jini Stolk:
Jini Jini was cofounder and Executive Director of Creative Trust, where she worked to strengthen the financial capacity and organizational potential of Toronto’s performing arts companies. As the newly appointed (January 2013) Creative Trust Research Fellow at the Toronto Arts Foundation she hopes to bring those 12 years of experiences and learnings to the City’s wider arts community. Before Creative Trust she was Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre, Executive Director of the Toronto Theatre Alliance/Dora Mavor Moore Awards (where she revitalized the half-price ticket booth, T.O. TIX), Associate Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers and General Manager of Open Studio.

She is involved in many community and cultural advocacy activities, and is Chair and a founding steering committee member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, and a director of the Centre for Social Innovation; Past Vice-President of the Toronto Arts Council and Past-President of Toronto Artscape, Hum dansoundart and Six Stages Theatre Festival. She loved being a member of the steering committee of ArtsVote Toronto 2010. She received the 2012 William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life, and was a Sandra Tulloch Award and Harold Award winner.

*Stay tuned for more information about this debate as it approaches*

Debate 2: Arts Boards
Hosted by Theatre Centre Managing Director Roxanne Duncan
Moderated by Praxis Theatre Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose
Monday April 1, 2013; doors 7pm, debates 7.30pm
The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt
PWYC at the door.
Twitter Hashtag: #CivilDebates

Packed house for Civil Debates 1. Photo by Renna Reddie. Packed house for Civil Debates 1. Photo by Renna Reddie.