The Magnetic North Theatre Festival announced the cancellation of its 2017 season last week, blaming the dissolution of the festival on financial reasons. The festival was scheduled to take place in Ottawa this year, June 16- 24.
A press release from Mike Hawkes, the Chair of the Canadian Theatre Festival Society, stated that, “While the accumulated deficit has been reduced by half over the past five years, the magnitude of the financial challenges and the continued pressure of an accumulated deficit make the festival untenable.”
Magnetic North billed itself as “Canada’s only national theatre festival,” according to its website. The event was unique in that it traveled on a rotating basis, performing in Ottawa one year and then in a different Canadian city the next, creating connections between the disparate Canadian theatre scenes and bringing both national and international performances to new audiences. The festival began in 2003, traveling to Edmonton in 2004, St. Johns in 2006, Vancouver in 2008, Kitchener in 2010, Calgary in 2012 and Halifax in 2014. Last year’s event – which would turn out to be the festival’s final tour – took Magnetic North to Whitehorse, Yukon.
“The amazing thing was that Magnetic North came to the North – that was a fabulous thing. It gave Yukon artists a unique opportunity to be seen nationally and internationally,” said Al Cushing, Chief Executive Officer for the Yukon Arts Centre.