Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre has announced that its production of Copper Thunderbird, originally scheduled for late March, 2010, will be postponed to October, 2010.
“This is a result of the provincial government’s cuts to the arts — specifically, the loss of gaming funding,” says Western Edge artistic producer Frank Moher. “In our case, we lost $10,000, or 20% or our annual budget. We had hoped we might be able to make up the amount with funding from the Canada Council, but that application was recently turned down. The postponement will allow us to further fundraise for the production — and, hopefully, the provincial government will reverse itself on its decision to severely cut arts funding, and our gaming funding, along that of many other organizations, will be restored. We’ll begin to know more about that after the budget speech on Tuesday.”
Western Edge is the third Nanaimo arts organization to be hit by the cuts. In October, 2009, the Vancouver Island Children’s Festival ceased operation after 10 years when its gaming funding was pulled. In January, 2010 the Nanaimo Blues Society announced that it would not mount its popular Summertime Blues Festival in 2010, citing, among other factors, “the severe reduction in available arts funding.”
Moher says that, one way or another, the show will go on. “We remain committed to producing ‘Copper Thunderbird,’ he notes, “and hope this delay will just whet the appetite of our audience for this extraordinary theatrical biography of the late and great artist, and former Nanimoan, Norval Morrisseau.” Specific dates for the rescheduled production will be announced later in the year.