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July 13 1953 wasthe most exciting night in the history of Canadian theatrethe atmosphere was electrifying Originally the idea of Thomas Patterson a man who had seen plays in Europe as a soldier in WWII he found that the in a comparison between theatre in Canada and theatre in Europe there was none There were no permanent theatres in Canada and he determined to do something about it Partly to boost his hometowns economy and partly the efforts to bring artistic culture there Patterson began the efforts of transforming the town into a cultural centre After much hard work the Stratford Theatre Festival blossomed into a national event The development of the Stratford Theatre Festival shows that the arts can be a viable economic enterprise while benefiting the community local and national in enriching cultural ways In the 1940s and 50s many Canadians felt threatened by Canadas cultural dependence on the United States This was not only a feeling that Canadians and Canadian culture should be more independent but some Canadian officials felt that American media bred passive uncritical audiences susceptible to manipulation The feeling that Canadian arts were so dominated by their American counterparts sparked a fever of nationalism The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts Letters and Sciences was established in 1949 to evaluate and recommend solutions to this problem of American influence and other problems plaguing theatres radio book-writing and others The main belief of the Commission was that self-improvement of Canadians in general was achieved through culture Culture provides a means of cultivating independent critically minded citizens who are required to make Canada work The efforts of the Royal Commission or the Massey Report culminated in the implementation of the Canada Council designed to be an arts funding agency in 1957 Also in 1957 the first tent for the Stratford Theatre Festival was erected in Stratford Ontario Sir Tyrone Guthrie who had the idea for the tent structure and
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