Volume 94, Issue 4

Friday, June 9, 2000


All's quiet on the Windsor front

Coroner releases rave report

USC to branch out with for-profit arm

Police stand-off ends in tragedy

Walking to find a cure for diabetes

Prelude to an election

Protestors clash with the pepper spray

A world without the Hart House

Corroded Disorder

A world without the Hart House

By David Wells
Gazette Writer

Despite outspoken opposition, the University of Toronto is considering closing the Hart House Theatre, the only main stage theatre space located at the university.

"There's nothing like it and nothing that could replace it," said Robin Breon, of the Friends of the Hart House Theatre. "The amount of money required to run the theatre is nickels and dimes, compared to the vast number of departments and programs within the university structure."

Michael Finlayson, VP-human resources at U of T, said the theatre was insufficiently used and was not generating enough revenue for the university.

"Michael Finlayson is wrong," Breon said. "The theatre is used a great deal by student and community groups. Is it's use maximized? That is something that could be questioned."

The FHHT have started a petition and are holding public meetings to save the theatre, Breon said.

"The Hart House Theatre operates independently of Hart House, which is a social and cultural student facility," said Margaret Hancock, warden of Hart House.

"There is a lot of excitement on the part of students about having access to the theatre space," she explained. "There's enough student interest around performance activities that the theatre could turn into a home base for students interested in a wide-variety of performing arts."

Breon also noted there is a future for the theatre, especially since there are not many places like it in Toronto.

"There is a shortage of venues like the Hart House Theatre in the City of Toronto and I think it can thrive mightily in the future as a student space and a theatre space"

Jan Bessey, manager of the theatre, said he thought the building's uses would be stretched if it became more than just a theatre.

"You can't use it for both [a student space and a theatre]. The shows have to have time to set up and rehearse," he said.

Hancock said she was still hoping everything would work out. "I'm optimistic that we'll find a way to keep the theatre operating."

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