Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Booster organizing MTYP hug-in

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THE beleaguered Manitoba Theatre for Young People, reeling from recent money woes and the firing of its founder, needs a group hug from its supporters, says a longtime booster.

Kim Zeglinski, a concerned parent whose kids attend theatre classes at its school, is organizing a hug-in March 23 at 12:30 p.m., when the public will be asked to ring the company's home at The Forks in a symbolic embrace.

Staff members have been reeling since the sudden dismissal earlier this month of founding artistic director Leslee Silverman. No reason was given by the board of directors and Silverman said she has no idea what prompted the ouster. Previously a cash flow crunch forced a payday to be missed.

"MTYP is really in crisis," says Zeglinski, a theatre instructor with MTYP off and on between 1994 and 2010. "I don't know what happened and the public doesn't know because the board decided not to be transparent. The place can't go down without a huge fight."

The future of MTYP is especially important to Zeglinski because of her 11-year-old son, who has Asperger's syndrome.

"It's the one place in his life where he is absolutely successful," says Zeglinski. "It's been the great equalizer for him."

She is hoping the 31-year-old institution will be the object of a public outpouring of affection Saturday ahead of a town hall meeting about MTYP scheduled for 7 p.m. April 10 at The Forks atrium.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2013 C8

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