Embattled Soulpepper Theatre at risk of losing federal arts funding after sex scandal

Embattled Soulpepper Theatre at risk of losing federal arts funding after sex scandal
From CBC - February 1, 2018

Toronto's embattledSoulpepper Theatre is at risk of losing its federal funding, the CanadaCouncil for the Arts said Thursday.

In its list of grant competition winners published this week, Soulpepper's status is listed as "under review."

"Our approach is to make sure that, if we give a grant to a company like Soulpepper, they can carry out their mandate. That they can do the work and the activities for which they are receiving a grant from the council," said Simon Brault, Canada Council chief executive and director.

"There are a lot of signs out there right now saying it's anything but business as usual" at the theatre, he added.

Soulpepper has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment, sexual remarks and unwanted groping againstits former artistic director Albert Schultz in four civil suits launched by actors who worked under him. The theatre itself is named in the statement of claims ofeach suit.

The complainants are seeking $4.25 million in damages fromSoulpepperand $3.6 million from Schultz.

"These claims make serious allegations against me which I do not take lightly. Over the coming time period, I intend to vehemently defend myself," Schultz said one day before he resigned his postlast month.

Just days later, Soulpepper announced it had severed ties with Leslie Lester, the theatre's former executive director and Schultz's spouse. It also cancelled its planned run of the productionAmadeus.

Several weeks after Schultz's resignation, CBC'sthe fifth estaterevealed that the theatre's managementdeliberately misled staff for 19 months about sexual harassment allegations made against a director that previously worked at the company.

"When there are allegations by victims that are as serious as these were, we had no choice but to put [Soulpepper Threate]on concerned status," said Brault.

'Very pointed and precise questions'


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