Life After Print

The writing is on the wall – newspapers are failing.  Around the world, in this age of economic crisis and internet dominance, more and more newspapers are going belly-up.  Or, in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, are cutting back, and arts sections are often the first to go.

The evidence?  Well, the Globe and Mail has cut 10% of its workforce. Rebecca Coleman reported at “Jerry Wasserman, a local theatre critic that writes for Vancouver’s Province newspaper…will no longer be reviewing theatre for The Province newspaper. Arts and entertainment editor Carey Gillette wants the community to know that The Province will still preview plays and profile theatre artists, and she hopes that when the economy turns around, Jerry and his reviews will be back in the paper.”  She also “got an email from Michael Harris, who reviews plays for The Globe and Mail here in Vancouver. It said: ‘I’m afraid I have some bad news… The Globe and Mail has cancelled its weekly Vancouver theatre listings, effective immediately.’”

And it doesn’t end there.

So where does that leave both theatre audience and creators?  How much reliance do both groups have on newspapers to distribute information about shows?  What will the world of theatre look like in life after print?

In a microcosm of this point, Ruby Slippers has gone from a printed version of The Flying Monkey to this, your e-newsmagazine.  The costs are lower, distribution is potentially higher, and it has a more friendly environmental impact.  It just makes sense.  And as editor and a member of Generation Why, I can say that I have never had a newspaper subscription. It’s just not how I get my information.

We enlisted the input of some fellow theatre-folk to hear how this is affecting them, and I will be posting their comments over the next few days:

Flying Monkey Contributors:

  • J. Kelly Nestruck is the theatre critic at The Globe and Mail. He blogs at and tweets at
  • Tom Cone is a playwright
  • Nathan Medd is Managing Producer at Electric Company Theatre in Vancouver.  He has been meaning to see Twilight.
  • Rebecca Coleman is a freelance theatre publicist, actor, writer, blogger, and producer.  She is passionate about helping artists to be better businesspeople. You can find her online at
  • Sue Porter has worked as an actor, teacher, and director in Canada, Holland, and California and is now the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance. Check out their site at
  • Editor Rachel Peake is the Artist-in-Residence at Ruby Slippers, the co-Artistic Director of Solo Collective, and a freelance director.