Thursday, March 29, 2012

Attacks on Canadian Theatre and Film Worry Iconic Actor

Vancouver, B.C The recent sudden closure of Vancouver’s Playhouse Theatre Company is dealing a major blow not only to B.C.’s theatre community, but to the Canadian cultural community as a whole. Along with the cancellation of the Siminovitch prize and the Saskatchewan government’s decision to eliminate a crucial film tax credit, a trend is emerging that has actor, director, and producer, William B. Davis, worried about the future of Canada’s cultural industry.

Davis directed at The Playhouse in its early years when its inception was part of a broad cultural growth across the country including the founding of many regional theatres and The National Theatre School in Montreal. Later Davis was artistic director of The Playhouse Acting School “The Playhouse was a real keystone for theatre companies across the country. So many artists found a home there, and so many incredible stories and careers were born there,” says Davis, whose recent memoir Where There’s Smoke-Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man includes his time at the Playhouse as well as with other well-known companies.

But Davis is also concerned about broader trends, “I’m worried that what we’re witnessing here is a real devaluation of the role of arts in public life. Governments are cutting support for the arts with the suggestion that there will be no repercussions to doing so. Anyone who contributes to the economic and social well-being of a community is contributing to the growth of our society. The public and private sectors seem to miss two things. First there are lost jobs—thousands of them but perhaps more important there is a loss of what makes us human. After all, homo sapiens was first recognized as a separate species because of cave paintings.”

William B. Davis was a key player in the Canadian theatre scene for decades, and has left his mark on numerous companies. His memoir provides insight into the growth of the community and those who played a critical role in its development.

Where There’s Smoke…Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is published by ECW Press and is available everywhere. Davis’ website can be found at


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