The Clay and Paper Theatre is facing a crisis, its directors say.
The long-standing not-for-profit arts company is finding it tough to find affordable and sustainable rental spaces in Toronto due to the surging market.
As a result, the company has been spending up to 60 per cent of its basic operating funds on rent, Tamara Romanchuk, the theatre’s co-artistic director, told The Bloor West Villager.
“In dollar figures, that’s $16,000 less that we have for our signature community events,” she said. “We are struggling to keep our heads afloat right now.”
On Saturday, Feb. 18, Clay and Paper Theatre is hosting a fundraising event, The Big Smooch, at its studio at 300 Campbell Ave., near Dupont Street and Symington Avenue in the Junction Triangle.
However, the money raised will go toward supporting the theatre’s programing, David Anderson, the company’s founder, said.
“The reason why we do this (put on shows) is so that we can bring people together in public space,” he said. “That’s our big focus.”
Clay and Paper Theatre was founded in 1994, and occupied space at Dufferin Grove Park. The theatre produces plays, pageants and parades within the community.
It was located at 35 Strachan Ave. for the past five years, Romanchuk said, before being given notice to leave last year due to a condo development.
“It became home, and it became a home not just for us,” she said. “We were able to welcome a lot of groups into the space.”
Since the move, the company has found it hard to find an affordable studio, and has been discussing with colleagues across the city to find a new home.
“We’re extremely active at looking at other options,” she said. “We’ve been speaking with other theatre organizations over the past three months that are in the same boat, we’re examining different space sharing models and that might be a solution, but we don’t know if that’s practical.”
Clay and Paper Theatre is also looking at partnering with community-based groups to house a new studio, and will be creating a GoFundMe page to help with its situation, Anderson said.
For more information about the fundraising event, visit: www.facebook.com/events/1405862692820290/.