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Friday, February 25, 2011

Open letter from Patrick Goddard

10 things I Hate About Theatre Post-Script
by Patrick Goddard

Last week, I touched off a firestorm with the introductory post to this series. Although I knew it would be provocative, I naïvely didn't expect that my personal opinions would be taken as representative of the views of the Quebec Drama Federation as a whole. The question of how personal an opinion the President of the QDF could express, and in what forum, is a large one, and was addressed by the QDF's Board of Directors. It was pointed out that we did have a policy in place that journalists could not sit on the Board of the QDF, borne out of the concern that one member of the Board could unduly influence the livelihood of other QDF members. With that in mind, I can no longer be a contributor to what has very quickly become one of the most important and vital media outlets in Montreal English Theatre. Although I'm hardheaded enough to withstand controversy personally, I don't want to risk the reputation of the QDF, an organization that is growing more and more exciting and relevant.

The question remains for me: how do we as artists find a way to criticize the work? As Joel Fishbane points out in his open letter to me, we seem to not criticize each others' work for fear of not being supportive. Is there a way for us to speak our minds freely as artists without jeopardizing the survival of our fellow artists? Is there a way for us to create a structure for us to talk honestly about what we're doing on stage, how we're doing it, and why? Is this an opportunity for QDF to develop a forum where artists can exchange thoughts in an open and non-confrontational environment? Obviously, the CharPo is not the right forum for me while I'm President of the QDF. I do have a lot to say, but this is not the right place or the right way.



  1. You are a graceful and elegant man, Mr. Goddard.

  2. i have to admit that i was starting to get turned on by the idea of humans being debated until april.

    i understand and respect patrick's decision to back away.

    i'd encourage us all to read certain chapters of 'Say Everything', a book on the history of blogging. it looks into the often confrontational relationship between bloggers and journalists.

    to me one does not automatically equate the other. while i will respect and value some blogger's comments/thoughts/news as much as i will certain journalists with the msm i do not necessarily see all bloggers to be journalists/media (nor do i think all bloggers are out to be journalists). some are simply out there to share their thoughts and opinions.

    as secretary of the quebec drama federation, i certainly will never let my allegiance to the federation get in my way of expressing myself. and i encourage all other members of the board to do the same.

  3. I am so very happy that the CharPo provides a forum for positively discussing the work, the actual work, being done by the dedicated artists in our community, and beyond. Montreal's English language theatre scene deserves so much more than the torrent of random cheap shots and bellicose diatribes we've been fed over the years.

    That being said, I see nothing wrong with anyone, including the president of the QDF, voicing their ideas, thoughts and impressions in this or any other forum. In fact, I see a place for the Artistic Directors of the Segal, the Centaur and others, as well as the owners of the various venus and (please, I know you're out there) patrons, all having a home here.

    However, I do expect that anyone who posts a comment, or writes an article or review, to have the spinal fortitude to thoughtfully defend his or her words. We are evidently a very passionate bunch with rather diverse opinions, if recent events have shown us anything. But, we must remain open in our thinking and, God knows, we may be convinced that you are "right".

    As neither a president (past or present), secretary (I don't take dictation, sorry) nor member in good standing (though I might take the directors workshop) of the QDF, i would ask that everyone resume breathing, now that the spectre of MELT's doom has been banished. For now.

  4. I, for one, am pleased with Patrick's decision. I would have been equally pleased had he stepped down from QDF and pursued writing a public online forum.

    I don't believe this issue was ever one of 'what differentiates a blogger from a journalist'. This was a matter of language, and the language used represented a conflict of interest. There are countless ways in which one can express thoughts and opinions, even the very strongest ones. Words matter, charitable organizations matter and words used by individuals who represent those organizations - particularly in a public forum - matter, whether or not they reflect the opinions of that entire organization. Words effect change, but they also bear consequences. Ask any politician, CEO, media personality - hell, ask anybody...

    You can't tell me that Stephen Harper writing "10 Things For a Greater Canada" would get the same reaction and results as "10 Things I Hate About Canadians," even if the two bore essentially the same information. (Oh, please write the latter, Stephen, please, please, please...)

    Having to make choices and consider the rewards and consequences of those choices doesn't diminish our freedom. It defines it.

    Bravo, Patrick.

  5. I don't believe in conflict of interest in this case, nor do I believe Patrick's use of language demonstrated one. This is a blog for journos and arts bloggers in our community, period. In my opinion there was never a connection of Patrick to QDF for his op-ed style piece, nor should that have ever been placed on him. I respect Patrick as a writer, administrator, artist and board president; he has demonstrated an exemplary love for this community over the years, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so.

  6. Oh Patrick, you blogtease, now I'll never find out what you hate about "eroticism". Thanks for stirring up the pot, though! These comment threads have been awesome! I guess it's better to have hated and lost than never to have hated at all.


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