Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canada Likely to Cancel International Tours

A survey by the members of the Conférence Internationale des Arts de la Scène (CINARS) suggests that up to 600 out-of-country performances by 36 Canadian arts organizations could be cancelled in the absence of two cultural diplomacy programs and a stalling economy.

CINARS said the questionnaire was informal, sent to 220 organizations, of which 36 responded. But the numbers hint at the broader impact the recent cutting of PromArt and Trade Routes - two programs until recently administered by the federal government to help artists and organizations tour their work abroad - will have on Canadian's foreign profile.

CINARS general director Alain Paré said the timing could not be worse with the economy already struggling. He hopes to have a more accurate picture of the fallout after its annual conference, now under way in Montreal. "Canada's a huge country, but we don't have the population to support our artists. It's a question of survival to tour abroad," he said.

Paré added that it would be dangerous to cancel so many shows, leaving international buyers hesitant to book Canadian acts they fear might not honour their agreements. Companies responding to the survey included the Alberta Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Les 7 doigts de la main. Their estimates put next year's resulting financial losses for all 36 companies at $4.9-million.

James Bradshaw
Canada's Globe and Mail
November 21, 2008

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