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Judith Thompson threatens to pull play from Factory Theatre in support of Ken Gass

Artistic director Ken Gass poses for a photo on the set of the play The Rez Sisters in Toronto, November 8, 2011.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Playwright Judith Thompson has added her name to the growing list of theatre artists disgruntled with the Factory Theatre's treatment of artistic director Ken Gass.

Gass was fired by the theatre's board June 20 in a disagreement about future renovations at the theatre's heritage building at Adelaide and Bathurst streets in Toronto.

Thompson is threatening to pull her one-woman performance Watching Glory Die from the 2012-13 season if the board does not negotiate with Gass, and has joined a high-profile group of artists saying they will boycott the theatre until the board reinstates him. Playwright George F. Walker has already pulled his play Dead Metaphor from the coming season.

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The list of names calling for the boycott, which was released Wednesday, includes actors Gordon Pinsent, R. H. Thomson, Fiona Reid and Martha Henry, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, theatre directors Ross Manson, Leah Cherniak and Layne Coleman, playwrights Morwyn Brebner, Florence Gibson and Michael Healey and writer Michael Redhill.

The artists say they will neither work with the theatre nor attend shows there. Their boycott is a separate statement from a 3,600-name petition also calling for Gass's reinstatement.

Gass, who founded the theatre in 1970, returned to rescue it from bankruptcy in the 1990s and has served as artistic director for the last 15 years. He had ambitious plans for renovating the theatre, a late 19th-century merchant's house that was expanded and turned into a church hall in 1910, but the board had decided on more modest changes to make the building accessible.

A representative for Factory Theatre said Wednesday the company would be making a statement about the boycott soon. Board chair Ron Struys has previously said the board wanted to move on to a new phase of growth and did not make the decision to part company with Gass lightly.

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About the Author

Kate Taylor is lead film critic at the Globe and Mail and a columnist in the arts section. More


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