Summerworks loses funding

SummerWorks loses Heritage Canada funding

The SummerWorks Festival announced earlier today that Heritage Canada has pulled its funding of the event despite having provided crucial grant money since its inception. "After a tremendously productive five year partnership with Heritage Canada, the Festival has just received notice that this partnership is not going to be renewed for the 2011 season," wrote artistic producer Michael Rubenfeld in a post on the festival's blog.

The announcement comes just over a month before the 2011 edition of the event is set to take place in and around Queen West. Worth about $40,000, the lost grant leaves a significant hole in the festival's finances. "This loss of 20% of our budget just weeks before opening has created a significant shortfall and left us little time to fill it," according to Rubenfeld, who's now spearheading a last-minute fundraising effort.

Absent from mention today — at least on the SummerWorks site itself — is last year's "controversy" surrounding festival play Homegrown, which depicts the relationship between Toronto 18 member Shareef Abdelhaleem and the playwright, Catherine Frid. A series of Toronto Sun articles last summer called out the festival for inclusion of a play that putatively glorifies terrorism. In the absence of comment or explanation from Heritage Canada, it's not possible to connect the dots, but naturally there's suspicion that the two are related.

SummerWorks is asking for donations of $21 to commerate its 21st year and to makeup for the lost funds. And, according to the Globe and Mail, "ticket prices will be raised by 50 per cent, some outdoor programming will be cancelled and the marketing budget will be significantly cut."


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