Toronto’s Tapestry Opera & Nightwood Theatre Asked to Leave Venue After 20 Years

By Chris Ruel
Photo : Dahlia Katz

Artscape has asked Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre to vacate their offices and The Ernest Balmer Studio in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District.

The unexpected move leaves Nightwood Theatre without an artistic home as of March 2022. Tapestry Opera must leave by August 2022. According to the press release, Artscape did not consult with its long-term artistic tenants when deciding to end the lease. This after Artscape had confirmed a five-year tenancy in 2018. The announcement by Artspace affects over 70 additional artists and arts organizations.

For the past 20 years, Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre have brought award-winning productions to the city, experienced high levels of growth, and became a destination for artists and audiences.

In the press release, Nightwood Theatre’s Artistic Director, Andrea Donaldson, in a sharply worded statement, said, “Without the unique presence of artists, the Distillery will become all sheen, no substance. While we are powerless in this situation, we hope that this gross example of cultural extraction offers a cautionary tale and that Torontonians will begin to assert their will against the decimation of cultural presence, rendering the city we love inhospitable. A change in city policy may be the only thing that can truly address the challenges for a sustainable arts scene in Toronto.”

Michael Mori, Tapestry Opera’s Artistic and General Director, added, “We’re heartbroken that the loss of yet another artistic space in Toronto will impact the many artists and arts organizations who rely on our affordable space to create. We’re also distressed at having to interrupt our organizations’ seasons at this key time of returning to live productions after almost two years of COVID-19.”

The companies are in discussions with Artscape about alternative venues, but as of this writing, nothing has been confirmed. Meanwhile, Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre are asking residents to contact their city councilors, asking them to address Toronto’s venue crisis.