Ken Gass walks away from Factory Theatre for good
It appears the Ken Gass/Factory Theatre saga has come to a close. In a press release, Gass, who founded the theatre in 1970 and returned to save it from insolvency in 1996, put an end to the months-long ordeal:
While I am extremely grateful for the huge outpouring of support I have received from the community, I wish to now state firmly and unequivocally, that under no circumstances in the foreseeable future will I consider returning to the Factory Theatre, either as artistic director or in any other capacity.
A recap: On June 14 of this year, in a surprise to many in Toronto’s theatre community, Ken Gass was terminated as Factory’s artistic director, a move he alleges was due to a disagreement with the theatre’s board of directors over planned renovations to the heritage space. Unsurprisingly, the Factory veteran didn’t take the decision lightly: after little more than a month, he was planning legal action, citing “issues of accountability” and stating that “the irregularities in the termination process [were] huge.” A petition to boycott the Gass-less Factory had also circulated by that point, with Toronto heavyweights such as Atom Egoyan and Lloyd and Nancy Robertson adding their signatures to approximately 4,000 others. In August, overtures Gass had made toward the board were rebuffed; an unsuccessful attempt at mediation over the past two weeks became the final straw. “I believe further divisiveness around the Factory itself will only have a detrimental effect on the future of the company,” he said in the release. Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams will take over artistic director duties in the interim. Gass intends to move on to new projects at the Canadian Rep Theatre, which he founded in the ’80s.