After 30 years serving as Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s founding artistic director, Leslee Silverman has been told she is no longer employed by the theatre company.
The announcement comes almost two years after Silverman won the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement and six days after MTYP board president Gloria Koop revealed MTYP missed paying its staff two weeks ago as the company continues to grapple with an ongoing financial crisis.
An MTYP employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many of the staff are "devastated" by Silverman’s forced departure from the company, saying Silverman was considered a "mentor" by many.
MTYP has been in a financial crisis due to a debt in the $1.5-million range and a recent embezzlement to the tune of nearly $80,000. A former finance manager has been accused of stealing more than $77,000 in funds.
For her part, Silverman leaves the company with abundant laurels and achievements. Along with the Governor General’s Award, Silverman was the first recipient in 2003 of the Manitoba Arts Council Arts Award of Distinction and won the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the Arts and Culture category.