Stage Door News

Toronto: The Slaight Family Foundation gives $15 million to struggling theatre companies

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Think of it as the charitable equivalent of shouting: Encore! The Toronto-based Slaight Family Foundation has announced a $15-million donation to be spread among 22 Canadian theatre companies that continue to be affected by the pandemic.

“The forced closure of theatres because of the pandemic has devastated the theatre industry,” said Gary Slaight, president and CEO of the foundation. “Even now, with audiences nervous to return since reopening, we are still seeing shows being rescheduled and cancelled, sometimes the same day. We’re very happy to support these organizations so they can focus on the work of creating and bringing back audiences.”

While the majority of the organizations receiving the funding are Toronto-based or nationally recognized companies that produce a full season of theatrical productions, there are also grants for smaller companies that are creating culturally specific work, and leaders in equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as money to support the country’s theatrical training institutes.

Some of the beneficiaries include Toronto’s Luminato Festival and Soulpepper Theatre Company, the Shaw and Stratford festivals, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Native Earth Performing Arts, and Obsidian Theatre. Individual grants range from $125,000 to $1.5-million.

“Live theatre is a crucial way we tell our stories to each other and provide opportunities for artists,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory of the announcement. “It takes time and investment to mount a theatrical production, and that is an even bigger challenge post-pandemic. These donations will play a big role in building a city which supports artists and the arts. Another stellar performance!”

The announcement comes just days after the Slaight Foundation gave $10-million to the Unison Fund, an organization providing counselling, emergency relief and benefit programs for struggling Canadian musicians. In February, the charity announced a $15-million donation aimed at organizations that work to improve the lives of women and girls. Since its establishment in 2008, it has given $185-million to a variety of health care and wellness initiatives, not including the latest arts funding.

By Chris Knight for

The companies receiving funds: