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Those in the arts community in Sudbury left uncertain after amalgamation of two theatre groups

How Sudbury Performance Group plans to help fill the gap after the merger between Sudbury Theatre Centre and YES Theatre
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Sudbury’s arts and entertainment community is currently going through some uncertain times because of the recent merger between YES Theatre and Sudbury Theatre Centre.

This decision has left those who work in the artistic community concerned for several reasons, said Mark Mannisto, founder and President of Sudbury Performance Group (SPG).

“Rumours of poor governance and conflicts of interest cast these two groups in a poor light.  Sudbury Performance Group can only hope that that transparency can be achieved and that the arts at all levels can continue to grow in Greater Sudbury.” he said. “I believe everything was done with the best of intentions but despite that it still caused a lot trouble for the already struggling arts scene here in Sudbury.”

“The good in this situation is that it shows that the arts community is passionate about what’s happening in our small world of arts and culture and it gives us the opportunity to say, ‘how can we help grow from this’, once these issues take place,” he said.

Having just recently finalized their strategic plan that forecast SPG’s plan for the next few years, Mannisto said they plan to alter it now “in order to assist to fill in the gap and making sure that SPG is stepping up to the plate and ensuring some of the concerns that have been expressed are being alleviated, if not by STC or YES than by Sudbury Performance Group.”

He said this situation, while troubling on many levels, has shown SPG that importance of growth and change, especially if they will be losing some of these opportunities with the merger. It’s made the SPG board look at how they can adjust their programming to ensure they step up to the plate and do their part to fill the gap that is going to left by this merger.

“We’ve committed that within the next two years, we will create more paid opportunities for local actors and also we’ve got an opportunity to look at creating more opportunities for local playwrights, and to stage more Sudbury-specific productions to make sure local artists are taken care of,” he said. 

“Over the past two years we have hired over 75 local musicians to participate in our seasons. We are excelling on the music front. We are proud about that. We now want to excel on the theatrical scene and allow opportunities for theatre performers to earn a living. We have committed to only hire local professionals to participate in our productions and to stage our shows.”

To learn more about SPG’s plans to grow as an arts organization, contact them online, call 705-662-8518, or e mail [email protected] them for the latest information.

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