Donor Profile: Richard Newland
I’ve been a member of the Curtain Club for three years now, but a subscriber for much longer, as well as making regular donations to support the ongoing work of Soulpepper.
How did you first learn about Soulpepper/What is you first memory of Soulpepper?
Having friends in the theatre industry, I knew of Soulpepper for a long time, almost from its inception. I heard stories about their work from these friends and was intrigued by Albert’s vision for the company. My first memory of their work was a drama (the show’s name escapes my memory, must be my age!) and being impressed with the quality of the acting and the use of stage space. The small theatre space creates an intimacy that you cannot have in the large theatres.
What inspired you to support us?
It actually started from a negative experience with another company. I was distressed at how the company was treating their Canadian staff (remember my friends?) and thought that I was missing out on good Canadian talent. I “risked” a season with Soulpepper, and haven’t looked back. I wanted to support the talent of fine Canadian actors, so I became a donor. My participation was confirmed when I learned of Albert’s vision to treat actors fairly, and his willingness to step outside the traditional theatre mode, and improve the employment picture for his company members. Now, Soulpepper launches into its work to become a National Civic Theatre, an idea I’m happy to support in the little ways that I can.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about giving to Soulpepper? And, why do you think the arts should be a priority for philanthropy?
I would say to people that theatre is much more than Broadway musicals and big name performers. That we have living in our midst highly talented people that can compete with the best that Broadway can offer. I’ve just seen Billy Bishop Goes to War, and said that was better than most offerings coming to us from south of the border.
The arts, in all its various forms, convey culture. Without the arts our Canadian culture is diminished. Supporting the artist communities, will enrich the lives of generations to come.
How do you imagine Soulpepper in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be sitting in the theatre continuing to be impressed by the fine work Soulpepper does. At the same time, I hope that others, across Canada (and indeed maybe even Broadway) will be seeing the same thing. Keep up the good work!