Mr. Cameron leaves curating for creating

Our good friend Ken Cameron, whose play Making Marilyn, helped us launch our mandate to promote and produce Canadian theater theatre back in 2005 has decided to return to writing, leaving his post at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival after three years as its Artistic Director.

The CBC picked up the story, as did the blogosphere. The International Society of the Performing Arts (ISPA), which counts MNF as a member, posted this:

Artistic Director, Ken Cameron, has decided to return to his first love – writing – after three years at the helm of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival (ISPA member organization).

“We are sorry to be losing Ken but respect his desire to return to the creation, rather than curation, of art.” says Dale Turri, chair of the board of directors. “The board and staff recently completed an extensive strategic planning process that has strengthened our mandate and we remain absolutely committed to the presentation of the best in Canadian theatre to communities from coast to coast to coast. Ken has been a key player in this process and has left a legacy for which he can be very proud.”
During Cameron’s tenure, the festival has expanded its programming to embrace a broader diversity of artistic practice. Vancouver 2008 presented the first play from northern Canada, So Many Doors (Whitehorse), and Kitchener-Waterloo 2010 saw the first work for adult audiences from Quebec, Norman: A Tribute to Norman McLaren (Montreal).

“For three years I have proudly worked for this most incredible of festivals”, says Cameron. “In return, Magnetic North has provided me with the most comprehensive education in Canadian and international theatre that an artist could ever hope for. I have been privileged enough to travel all across this country tracking the careers of the most exciting artists that this country has to offer. I have been lucky to debate the role of the Performing Arts with talented and intelligent minds; and seen firsthand the impact of theatre on the lives of our supporters and volunteers. To all of them, I owe a debt of thanks for broadening my own artistic practice. To all of them I offer my unqualified respect. I leave the festival with an energetic 5-year Strategic Plan that charts an exciting course for the future, and of course, I will continue to be a champion and ambassador for the festival”.

Cameron’s popular play Harvest has just been published in the collection Harvest and Other Plays by Newest Press of Edmonton as part of their Prairie Play Series, and was released this fall. There are September book launches scheduled in Calgary and Edmonton (which have been home to productions of all three plays) and in Saskatoon to coincide with the opening of Harvest at the Persephone Theatre in October.

Cameron will step down at the end of October. The board will begin the search for a replacement in the coming weeks.

The next Magnetic North Theatre Festival will take place in Ottawa in June 2011 and will travel to Calgary in June 2012.

While MNF is losing it’s AD, the theatre community is getting back a wonderful playwright. We can’t wait to see what Ken comes out with next.

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