What are some of the good things that you’ve seen arts organizations doing during this time?
CR: Most arts organizations have laid off or reduced the salary of their arts workers, so we’re really happy that we haven’t had to do that, and that’s because we’re able to continue to present what we’re doing. I was recently on a committee of producers —my main business is theatre— so on the theatre side, there are discussions on what we can do to facilitate the recovery of the industry. People might not know but in the film and television business, when a producer hires an actor or technician to do a television show, there are tax credits to facilitate attracting productions to Canada and the production of Canadian content. In the theatre world, non-for-profit organizations like the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival receive grants but commercial theatre producers don’t receive tax credits similar to what commercial film and television producers have.
So David Mirvish and I are trying to engage the government in that discussion, and if we’re successful in that then I think the commercial theatre world in Toronto will be completely transformed. And we have a shot at coming out of Covid and becoming a worldwide center for production of shows. So I’m very excited about that. It’s something that I thought for years should have been discussed. I don’t understand what the difference is, the same actors and technicians that are hired to do a film would receive tax-credits that they are not receiving when they’re doing theatre, even though theatre, from an economic development perspective, helps restaurants and everything around the theatre. So that’s something that I think is very cool and positive that could come out of this.