I am a playwright who got started later in life, and who has never attended acting school because of the possibility that I would encounter exactly the culture that is present at George Brown. I knew myself well enough to know that it would be more than I could bear. I also will continue to stay away from a lot of the Toronto theatre community and work on my own because too many people within the community are like this. Still, this school should be shut down. The dominant culture is not an excuse nor should it be a pass for this abuse. I hope that the former students get together and launch a class action suit. The school’s assertion that it was providing a valuable education was nothing short of false advertising. A tiny band of hacky, embittered, insecure instructors with inferiority complexes who wanted to dump all of their emotional baggage on very young people, many of these young people who were just out of high school. No excuse!!!
Abuse doled out by way of misogyny, racism/white supremacy, ethnocentrism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, and the aggressive targeting of those in most need of support, understanding, and nurturing. Driving some of these students to eating disorders and contemplating suicide!!! These clowns clearly wanted to emulate the narcissism, sexism/racism, hyper-competitiveness, and dog-eat-dog culture of Hollywood as well as the arrogance of the serial sexual abuser that is the current US President. Sickening!!!! I want more than anything else in this world right now to come face to face, eyeball to eyeball, forehead to forehead with this “Angelo” person, and to tell him in no uncertain terms that he does not belong in theatre in any capacity. That he is unfit to be around good and decent people who want to thrive and grow as artists. He does not deserve the time and consideration of these students, all who would have been better off with no training at all than to be subjected to the likes of him and the other abusers in this sorry excuse of a program!!!
Imparting your knowledge of theatre is an honour that he and these other abusers do not, nor will ever, deserve. Out the door with all of them!! I know that this is supposed to be letter of support, and it is. While some may see the above as a rant, I hope that there are others who will see it as a call for systemic change. For those who do, you are the ones to whom this letter is addressed. Whether you are a former student of GB Theatre or not, you know. You know what it is like to be belittled and shamed. This world is hard, cruel and unjust enough to live in without coming into theatre and opening yourself up only to have flunkies stomp you into the dirt and kick you as you get up from the stomping. This program was not for the students, it was an exercise in self-indulgence for these idiot instructors who were themselves hiding from reality behind the prestige (such as it is) of their titles and positions. Their power to humiliate and to be overpaid for it. Fuckers.
To the GB students. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I want my projects to be collaborative, supportive, and energizing for all involved with them. I want to help people to become more realized artists. My writing is not just about me. If it were, it would be pointless. I hope that I have the privilege and honour to work with some of you before the end of my time on this planet. I was fortunate enough to get into Fringe this year and I will seek for this project and all projects that I do in my lifetime to foster an environment that is respectful, caring, collaborative, enlightening and educational for us all, and that brings the best out in all of us, as well as the people who buy tickets. To work to tell stories that make people care and move them and to do it with those who are unsure of their talents and with work to make them realize how very talented and special they truly are. Perhaps a community, then a culture can stem from these efforts and from others whom I will never meet who have the same vision. A patchwork of compassionate artists who do not wish to negate the point of it all. Perhaps we can change this toxic theatre culture. Utopian? Silly? Maybe it is for this older, self-educated writer, but it is more than what “Angelo” and the other buffoons at George Brown have to offer.