Soulpepper Theatre severs relationship with executive director, cancels Amadeus run

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Soulpepper Theatre says it has cancelled its production of Amadeus and severed its relationship with Leslie Lester, the wife of Soulpepper’s former artistic director Albert Schultz.

The announcements, which were made in a press release Saturday, come just days after the board said Lester had agreed to a voluntary leave of absence pending the investigation into the Schultz allegations.

Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Amadeus, a play about musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was slated to begin its theatrical run next week.

Soulpepper ‘deeply distressed’ by allegations

Schultz resigned Friday amid allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment by four separate actresses. He is facing four civil suits in connection with the allegations — none of which have been proven in court.

“We are all deeply distressed by the alleged conduct of former artistic director Albert Schultz,” said the release, which goes on to say the board had no knowledge of any such claims.

“Unfortunately, we did not know that Albert Schultz was alleged to have engaged in any harassment. No such complaints ever made their way to the Board,” the statement said.

Schultz Lawsuit Plaintiffs

Plaintiffs, left to right, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, Kristin Booth and Patricia Fagan attend a press conference after filing lawsuits alleging sexual harassment from Souplpepper Theatre Company director Albert Schultz. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

Schultz has denied the allegations.

“These claims make serious allegations against me which I do not take lightly. Over the coming time period, I intend to vehemently defend myself,” he said in a statement this week.

‘Unhealthy workplace culture’

In the fall, Soulpepper revealed that it had severed ties with Laszlo Marton, a longtime guest artist and award-winning director who was facing allegations of sexual harassment and assault in his home country of Hungary.

Following an investigation, the company determined Marton had “engaged in sexual harassment” and their relationship had to be “immediately and permanently terminated.”

Laszlo Marton

Theatre director Laszlo Marton, former head of Hungary’s Vigszinhaz theatre, has been accused of sexual assault by seven women in his native Hungary. Soulpepper ended its relationship with Marton in the fall. (Vígszínház/Facebook)

The executive committee of the board says it was assured “there had been no other harassment of any kind by the anyone at the company.” An independent review by a workplace policy expert in the fall further assured the board it had the right policies to ensure a safe workplace.

Saturday’s release was accompanied by a statement by the artists with the company, in which they stated “there has been an unhealthy workplace culture for a long time.”

“We reached a consensus to recommend not to continue with the show. Amadeus was directed by Albert Schultz. We believe Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan, and Hannah Miller, and stand with them,” the artists’ statement read.

Soulpepper’s website states that anyone wishing to exchange their tickets for the now-cancelled production of Amadeus may contact the Young Centre Box Office. Any tickets not exchanged before Jan. 12 will be automatically refunded, it says.

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Soulpepper Theatre severs relationship with executive director, cancels Amadeus run

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