Connect with us

Anglais

Bishop Strachan School fires head and issues apology after production of Merchant of Venice criticized for being anti-Semitic

Published

on

[ad_1]

One of Toronto’s most prestigious private schools for girls has fired its head and issued an apology in the wake of a controversial and deliberately provocative touring adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

The performance, by a U.K. theatre company, offended students at Bishop Strachan School (BSS), and sparked fury amongst parents who described it as blatantly anti-Semitic. A group of two dozen unnamed parents expressed outrage in a letter to the board over the “demeaning, derogatory and highly inappropriate language” in the play, including an audience participation element with students urged to chant “Hallelujah” in response to statements like “Burn the Jews” and “Take away their holy books.”

On Monday, BSS issued an apology, admitting “it was an error to present that particular version of the play” and “appropriate context was not provided to students to prepare them.”

“For that, BSS is deeply sorry,” according to an emailed statement from the school. “An internal review is underway to establish guidelines and procedures to ensure this will not happen again.”

The school has “parted ways” with its head Judith Carlisle in the wake of the controversy, citing “an inability to align on a strategy for moving forward for the future.” She is replaced by the deputy head, Angela Terpstra. Carlisle is the school’s 19th head and was appointed last year after BSS hired her away from Oxford High School in England.

Carlisle is currently represented by law firm Henein Hutchison LLP, which released a statement Friday on her behalf. In it, Carlisle states that the play, which was performed at the school for Grade 11 and some Grade 12 students on Oct.17, “draws attention to the enduring and insidious impacts of anti-Semitism in Shakespeare’s time and since then.” She noted it had been previously performed and well-received at Oxford High School, when she worked there.

“I would never deliberately offend students entrusted to my care or their parents,” said Carlisle, who could not be reached for comment Monday. “That was not my intention. I deeply regret that there was not a plan in place to ensure that teachers were fully prepared to engage the students on the play.”

The adaptation by Box Clever Theatre, where Carlisle previously volunteered as a director or “trustee,” is a modern interpretation of the 16th-century dark comedy that incorporates Hitler and the Holocaust. Shakespeare’s classic play has long been critiqued for anti-Semitic elements, particularly its depiction of the character Shylock, a Jewish money lender.

Stagings of The Merchant of Venice regularly provoke controversy, according to Allen MacInnis, artistic director of the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto. He was not involved in the play but watched a public evening performance at the school that was primarily attended by adults.

“Every time a production is done of it, people ask the question of whether it should be done anymore,” he says. “Lots of times, people interpret it in a way to try and make us understand something more of what’s there… but from my experience, it’s almost always failed.”

According to Box Clever Theatre’s website, the play “fuses classical text with modern language” and was produced with “support” from BSS. It is scheduled to perform the play Nov.14 at the Supreme Court in London, England.

In an emailed statement, Box Clever said the play was first produced in 1998 and has been staged in the UK, Ireland, and in Israel and “none of these productions have prompted any complaints.” But Box Clever said it is “opposed to anti-Semitism and all other forms of discrimination” and is “sorry if any students at (BSS) were upset.”

Box Clever said its adaptation seeks to “challenge hatred in all its manifestations and remind audiences of the dangers and consequences of unchallenged discrimination.” But according to the letter written by 24 BSS parents, dated Oct. 22, the play fell woefully short of this goal and “materially exaggerated the anti-Semitic sentiment of the original version” while minimizing the Holocaust’s impact.

“Many Jewish students whose families were personally affected by the Holocaust were made to feel extremely uncomfortable and alienated as the production encouraged their fellow students to laugh at the horrific events and cheer anti-Semitic chants,” the letter stated.

The parents said they didn’t watch the play but its contents were confirmed and corroborated by “numerous students.”

The letters says they appreciate the “educational value” of controversial and racially charged subject matter. While this adaptation may have intended to provoke discomfort and “meaningful dialogue on the dangers of conformity and mob psychology,” it was presented without any “necessary preamble and debriefing” to “highly impressionable teens.” According to the letter, many students couldn’t understand why the content was hurtful, or failed to recognize misstatements about the Holocaust, and Jewish students were further hurt by their classmates’ comments that the play “was amazing” and “Jewish students are ‘overreacting.’”

“Despite its intentions, without any advanced preparation and the necessary interpretation and perspective provided to young teens, the important message is lost and replaced with the perpetuation of dangerous anti-Semitic stereotypes,” it said.

Journalist Rebecca Eckler, who is Jewish, was “appalled” by reports of the play at BSS, where her daughter is a Grade 10 student. “I was stunned that something could even happen like that,” said Eckler, who has freelanced for the Star in the past. She read accounts of a Grade 11 drama student who participated in the production being instructed to make a nose “as large and offensive as possible” for the play. “In this day and age, how could someone say that?”

Eckler is particularly saddened by reports of the play creating division amongst students. While she believes BSS eventually did the right thing by apologizing and firing its head, she thinks the school can still do more.

On Monday morning, BSS held an assembly to address Carlisle’s firing and apologized to students for not better preparing them for the play. According to Eckler’s daughter, the school announced plans to hold a Holocaust education week in February — but Eckler wonders why this can’t happen sooner, especially in light of the deadly synagogue attack in Pittsburgh that killed 11 worshippers on Saturday.

Eckler won’t be pulling her daughter from BSS, as some friends and acquaintances have urged her to do. But she and her husband have been donors for the past seven years and these recent events have her rethinking her financial support. At BSS, where more than 900 students are enrolled, annual tuition fees for domestic students are as high as $58,000.

Jewish advocacy groups, such as the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) and B’nai Brith Canada, have reached out to the school. FSWC offered to run educational sessions on the Holocaust and B’nai Brith said it could provide sensitivity training and education to teachers and administration. Neither offer has so far been accepted.

“We were outraged,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of FSWC, adding that whenever students are taught about literary works that deal with racism or anti-Semitism, “context has to be provided.”

“We’re not in favour of censorship of historical works of art,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, who applauds the school for taking action. “This was not The Merchant of Venice… This (was an) anti-Semitic modern interpretation that was very wrongly brought before students.”

For MacInnis with the Young People’s Theatre, he walked away from the performance at BSS questioning how he would have felt about the play if he were a Jewish person. He also asked himself if he would have programmed this play at his theatre and decided the answer was no. “It feels like one of those things that really had lots of good intentions, but may have really missed the mark,” he said.

Jennifer Yang is a Toronto-based reporter covering identity and inequality. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Anglais

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

Published

on

By

MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

Continue Reading

Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

Published

on

By

Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

Continue Reading

Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

Published

on

By

Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

Continue Reading

Chat

Sex3 semaines ago

Dix films avec des scènes de sexe non simulées qui ont fait polémique

Sex3 semaines ago

Sexe et cannabis : mélange miraculeux ou poison pour le couple ?

Sex3 semaines ago

Chantage émotionnel, dénigrement, harcèlement sexuel : Une jeune scientifique écrit aux comités nationaux d’éthique

Sex3 semaines ago

10 films sur le sexe et le plaisir pour oublier la distanciation sociale

Sex3 semaines ago

Les meilleurs sextoys pour le clitoris

Sex3 semaines ago

Dua Lipa, la reine du melting-pop qui allège le quotidien confiné de ses millions de fans

Sex3 semaines ago

Une série d’ici primée à l’étrange

Technologie4 semaines ago

TELUS adopte une nouvelle promesse de marque

Technologie4 semaines ago

La tech agricole Farmers Edge entre en Bourse à 18 fois ses revenus

Technologie4 semaines ago

NEC Canada accueille Combat Networks en tant que revendeur officiel de UNIVERGE® BLUE CLOUD SERVICES

Technologie4 semaines ago

La relance économique sera verte dans le Bas-Saint-Laurent

Technologie4 semaines ago

Ottawa injecte 2,75 milliards $ pour électrifier la flotte d’autobus au pays

Technologie4 semaines ago

L’entreprise montréalaise Native Touch fait l’acquisition du studio Candy Banners

Actualités4 semaines ago

Lionbridge conclut la vente de sa division d’intelligence artificielle (IA) à TELUS International

Actualités4 semaines ago

Le rôle stratégique et essentiel des métaux rares pour la santé

Actualités4 semaines ago

«Crypto-art» : l’œuvre numérique de la chanteuse Grimes vendue 6 millions de dollars

Actualités4 semaines ago

Un rapport révèle des inégalités pour les femmes de couleur dans les postes de direction canadiens qui font écho au secteur de la technologie

Actualités4 semaines ago

La demande de main-d’œuvre des startups canadiennes montre des signes de reprise au quatrième trimestre: rapport

Actualités4 semaines ago

En attendant la fibre optique

Affaires4 semaines ago

L’Alberta demande à Ottawa d’investir des milliards dans la capture du carbone

Anglais2 années ago

Body found after downtown Lethbridge apartment building fire, police investigating – Lethbridge

Styles De Vie2 années ago

Salon du chocolat 2018: les 5 temps forts

Anglais2 années ago

This B.C. woman’s recipe is one of the most popular of all time — and the story behind it is bananas

Santé Et Nutrition2 années ago

Gluten-Free Muffins

Anglais2 années ago

27 CP Rail cars derail near Lake Louise, Alta.

Anglais2 années ago

Man facing eviction from family home on Toronto Islands gets reprieve — for now

Santé Et Nutrition2 années ago

We Try Kin Euphorics and How to REALLY Get the Glow | Healthyish

Anglais2 années ago

Ontario’s Tories hope Ryan Gosling video will keep supporters from breaking up with the party

Anglais2 années ago

A photo taken on Toronto’s Corso Italia 49 years ago became a family legend. No one saw it — until now

Anglais3 années ago

Condo developer Thomas Liu — who collected millions but hasn’t built anything — loses court fight with Town of Ajax

Styles De Vie3 années ago

Renaud Capuçon, rédacteur en chef du Figaroscope

Anglais2 années ago

This couple shares a 335-square-foot micro condo on Queen St. — and loves it

Mode2 années ago

Paris : chez Cécile Roederer co-fondatrice de Smallable

Anglais2 années ago

Ontario Tories argue Trudeau’s carbon plan is ‘unconstitutional’

Styles De Vie2 années ago

Ford Ranger Raptor, le pick-up roule des mécaniques

Affaires2 années ago

Le Forex devient de plus en plus accessible aux débutants

Anglais2 années ago

100 years later, Montreal’s Black Watch regiment returns to Wallers, France

Technologie2 années ago

YouTube recommande de la pornographie juvénile, allègue un internaute

Anglais2 années ago

Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group in carbon tax court fight

Anglais2 années ago

Province’s push for private funding, additional stops puts Scarborough subway at risk of delays

Trending