General information about the Saidye Bronfman Theatre, but also specific records about different events that occurred in it and/or were organized by it. There are multiple files about plays with detailed descriptions about the budgets, the scripts and the costumes to name a few. Exhibitions’ …
General information about the Saidye Bronfman Theatre, but also specific records about different events that occurred in it and/or were organized by it. There are multiple files about plays with detailed descriptions about the budgets, the scripts and the costumes to name a few. Exhibitions’ explanations are also available to the interest of the public. Festival programs such as Family and Puppet Festival and activities such as Artapalooza are also in the Fonds. Grant proposals, donations by individuals and businesses, overall budgets, renovation information, letters between the centre and other institutions or people related to the centre and its activities, etc.
Initially funded by the Bronfman family and named for matriarch Saidye to honor her many years of deep and active interest in the arts and the YM-YWHA, the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts was inaugurated on September 24, 1967 as a non-profit cultural centre for the arts.
The centre was home to an art gallery, theatres staging English, French and Yiddish language productions; the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and the Youth Institute. It also housed the School of Fine Arts where classrooms were established as well as fine arts studios, dance and acting classes. The purpose the Centre was ‘to bring together in the common pursuit of learning and exploration men and women of all ages, religions, races, language or ethnic origins who identify with the mosaic of cultures which make up our province and our country.’
The art gallery was known internationally for its innovative leadership and excellence in contemporary art. Canadian, as well as international artists showed their multi-media exhibitions in the 3 500 square foot
The Saidye Bronfman Centre hosted different shows and plays for older as well as younger audiences. Many plays were shown in the Yiddish Theatre to a larger public. There were also plays for children mostly organized by the Youth Institute which hosted stand-up comedy and activities for a younger audience. Artapalooza which was organized annually was also very popular and children participated heavily in the many activities related to it. The theatres of the SBC played an important role in the Montreal Jewish Community since ‘the Yiddish Theatre and its founder, Dora Wasserman [were] the recipients of many awards in recognition of the essential role they play in preserving the Yiddish language and cultural heritage.’
The School of Fine attracted people who were passionate about painting, photography, jewellery and much more. The School held sculpture symposiums and numerous photographs and painting exhibitions in order to show diverse projects in a myriad of mediums and subjects. It offered courses to approximately 1 000 students, ranging from novice to advanced levels.
In the last year of its existence, the Saidye Bronfman Centre went through a major change. According to Kalichman, co-president of the YM-YWHA, a complex series of pressures led to the changes as well as financial issues for the Centre’s three entities; the gallery, the theatre and the School of Fine Arts. These pressures meant that these entities were directly competing for funding. Eventually these pressures led to the closure of the Saidye Bronfman Centre as it was under the administration of the YM-YWHA and the founding of the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts at the ‘Saidye’. The new centre has a new focal point concentrating strictly on performing arts. Because of this, the decision was made to close the School of Fine Arts and to discontinue the art gallery from the Segal Centre.
The collection came from the Saidye Bronfman Centre and the YM-YWHA.