RuBarb Moving From Cultural Centre


Robert Thomas

In what is sure to be a shocker for live theatre buffs and others, RuBarb Productions will be vacating their home in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre by June 30th.

"It is with great sadness and much optimism, RuBarb announces that we will be moving out of the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre by June 30th," a statement on RuBarb's Facebook page reads.

The statement reads that the theatre company, at this time, does not know where it's new home will be "but we will get June 30th," the Facebook statement reads.

RuBarb will be moving its box office, school and operations to a yet to be determined location. Summer productions will still be performed at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

The reason for the move was "to allow the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre to better serve the cultural needs of the City of Moose Jaw," according to the Facebook statement.

However, social media is buzzing with allegations the theatre company was evicted by Moose Jaw Cultural Centre Inc (MJCC).

MJCC is an arm's length third party board which administers the Cultural Centre on behalf of the City. They receive an annual City grant for programming.

RuBarb moved into the Cultural Centre on June 1, 2017; a move which initially seemed to be a good fit for both organizations but quickly turned controversial.

Numerous residents wrote letters of support to Moose Jaw City Council thanking them for allowing RuBarb the opportunity to move into and have a home at the Cultural Centre.

According to former Cultural Centre GM Darren McCaffery, the theatre company's move into the Cultural Centre led to his termination by the MJCC Board. A claim hotly denied by then MJCC chair Colleen Patterson, according to media reports. Patterson had stated it was due to McCaffery not being present at the Cultural Centre on a continual basis. McCaffery said being continually at the Cultural Centre was never a stipulation in his contract.

In an MJ Independent article regarding MJCC Inc's 2018 Annual General Meeting, where it was revealed that MJCC was in non-compliance with the provincial Non-Profit Corporation's Act, sources typified negotiations between MJCC and RuBarb as a "shit show" and "going south in a hurry."

SEE RELATED: Beef at the Cultural Centre

In an April 13, 2018 written statement to MJ Independent, Cultural Centre GM Derik Cronan stated that any lease agreement over one year must be approved by the MJCC Board. The agreement between RuBarb and Cultural Centre had been negotiated by the later summarily terminated GM McCaffery.

"A draft of said agreement was submitted to the Board of Directors and did not receive approval. At this time negotiations continue as we work to bring the current lease agreement more in line with our standard lease agreement," Cronan  wrote in the April 13th statement.

To assist with their move the theatre group has established a Go Fund Me account

We will keep you updated on this story as more details become available.

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