Skip to content

Banff Centre receives $750,000 gift

“It shows the respect that we have across the country. It is a huge statement and a huge sign of support for the Banff Centre.”
Banff Centre from Tunnel Mountain3
The view of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity from Tunnel Mountain. GREG COLGAN RMO PHOTO

BANFF – The Banff Centre got an early Christmas gift when it received a $750,000 gift from The Slaight Family Foundation to support theatre creators, producers and presenters.

“It is terrific news,” said Mark Wold, dean of arts and leadership. “It is a wonderful statement from the Slaight Family Foundation, so we are thrilled.”

The Slaight Family Foundation was established in 2008 with the goal of funding several strategic initiatives for multiple organizations by John Allan Slaight. Slaight, who died in 2021, was a pioneer broadcaster in Canada and a prominent Canadian philanthropist.

The Banff Centre was one of only two schools to receive the funds, with the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal the other. It was also the only one in Western Canada.

“It shows the respect that we have across the country,” Wold said. “It is a huge statement and a huge sign of support for the Banff Centre.”

The money provided will be going to theatre arts activities. The donation will help emerging and young playwrights come to the Banff Centre, receive mentorship and develop a play that they can then bring into full production through the learning environment.

“Ideally, this play or two or three could tour the country,” Wold said. “It could be started and conceived in Banff, produced here, and then able to travel nationally and internationally.”

After the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the money goes a long way to help get things moving again at the Banff Centre.

“The Slaight family wanted to see theatre practitioners back to work, so they are trying to help not-for-profit institutions,” Wold said. “What they are doing, is responding to the hardships the sector endured and the layoffs. They want to get people back to work, both the actors on stage and the practitioners behind the scenes.”

The pandemic showed the importance of the arts in people’s lives. With everything locked down, there were no theatres running and many productions had to go on hiatus or online in Canada. Now, with everything up and running, people are beginning to go back to the theatre and get culture back in their lives.

“The pandemic showed how much we miss the community and gathering and the thrill of the theatre and a live event,” Wold said. “That is what the Slaight Foundation wanted to restore. Our connections to the community run deep.”