SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Jan. 6, 2011) - On behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) and Member of Parliament (Blackstrap), today announced funding for Wide Open Theatrical Escapades.

Funding will support the purchase of new sound and lighting equipment, including a projector and a hands-free operation sound system. This specialized equipment will give the organization greater production flexibility and the ability to explore new artistic territory in design and performances. The new equipment will also improve Wide Open's capacity to present high-quality productions while touring to audiences across the Prairie provinces, including those in northern, rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities.

"Our Government is proud to invest in Wide Open and support its ongoing efforts to provide children with the magic of theatre first hand," said Minister Moore. "This investment will make theatre more accessible to all Canadians, no matter where they live."

"Wide Open is the only dedicated professional theatre company for young audiences in Saskatoon," said Minister of State Yelich. "I applaud its dedication to providing quality entertainment for our youth and am very pleased that our Government is continuing to support the arts in Saskatchewan."

"Wide Open is honoured to be the recipient of funding from the Government of Canada," said Fran Nutter, Chair of the Wide Open Board of Directors. "As we head into our tenth year of productions, we are thrilled to be able to purchase new equipment that will take our theatre company to the next level of professionalism. We look forward to using the new production elements as we entertain the children of Western Canada into the future."

Wide Open Theatrical Escapades, established in 2001, is a non-profit organization that strives to produce professional theatre to entertain children and adults alike. With an emphasis on puppetry, its mandate is to reach children aged 3 to 12 through live theatre. Wide Open has a regular season of four shows for the public and tours fringe festivals and schools in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba.

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $7,000 through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This program seeks to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentation or exhibition. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing, visual, and media arts, and to museum collections and heritage displays.

The Government of Canada is investing $540 million in the arts and culture sector to stimulate the economy as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. It also recently renewed funding for federal arts programs totalling $1.51 billion over the next five years.

This news release is available on the Internet at under Newsroom.

Contact Information: Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
Codie Taylor - Press Secretary
Canadian Heritage
Regional Communications - Prairies and Northern Region
Francine D. Lefebvre - Director
Cell: 204-899-8611
Canadian Heritage
Media Relations