ONE YEAR AFTER SOULPEPPER, WHAT STAGE HAVE WE REACHED?

A year ago this week, news broke that shook Canadian theatre to its core. Four actors filed civil lawsuits alleging that Soulpepper Theatre’s founding artistic director, Albert Schultz, had sexually harassed and assaulted them

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Patricia Fagan speaks at a news conference last January about the claims that she and actresses Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley and Hannah Miller made against former Soulpepper artistic director Albert Schultz. (CARLOS OSORIO / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

A year ago this week, news broke that shook Canadian theatre to its core. Four actors — Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan and Hannah Miller — filed civil lawsuits alleging that Soulpepper Theatre’s founding artistic director, Albert Schultz, had sexually harassed and assaulted them, some claims going back decades. Soulpepper Theatre itself was named in the statements of claim, which referred to Schultz as a “serial sexual predator.”

Schultz resigned on Jan. 4, the day after the suits were filed, and Soulpepper severed its relationship with Leslie Lester, the theatre’s executive director and Schultz’s wife, two days after that. The suits were quietly settled out of court in June.

Soulpepper continued to operate through and beyond the crisis, with associate artistic director Alan Dilworth stepping in as acting artistic director and the theatre committing to a “process of renewal.” The Soulpepper Academy, the theatre’s training arm, was put on yearlong hiatus.

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