The group made the “sad” announcement in a Facebook post, saying the decision stemmed from a “lack of funding, an actual operational budget, and the lack of support.”
“As a team of volunteers we combined all our strengths over the last three years to try to make this work and build this Hip Hop House but we came short and ran out of energy,” the society said in its post, noting July 29 will be its last day in the studio.
The Burnaby-based Streetrich had run drop-in breakdance sessions and summer camps out of the space, formerly an auto shop.
Last year, the group’s founder Mattias Boon thanked city hall for opening the space “because there are not many cities in the world that really want to invest in hip-hop culture.”
“We do want to sincerely thank everybody who did support us and helped us to write a little bit of Canadian Hip Hop History,” the group wrote in a July 24 Facebook post. “As for now Streetrich Hip Hop Society is taking time to re-organize itself, to re-focus and once we are ready you will hear from us again. All we can share for now about our new plans is that we will continue doing events, workshops and showcases. We are looking to develop an agency that can help Hip Hop artists to get more employment in the forms of shows and workshops.”
The 2,500-square-foot studio at 10660 City Parkway was officially opened by the City of Surrey in June, 2017 with the aim of being an arts hub with a youth focus.
Prior to the 2017 opening, the city put out a call for proposals for groups who wanted to use the space, landing on Streetrich and Royal Canadian Theatre Company (RCTC).
So what does the change mean for the studio?
“At this point we are reviewing the plan… and our long-term vision for the facility,” said Laurie Cavan, Surrey’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture. “But certainly we are going to be continuing to work with the Royal Canadian Theatre Company, and continue with the guiding principles on which the facility was initially developed.”
Cavan noted the city “definitely wants to ensure that space gets utilized for artists and other creative opportunities in the City Centre.”
“It’s part of our strategy to be activating spaces in the City Centre area,” she said of the project.
Ellie King, Royal Canadian Theatre Company founder, said while she’s sad to see Streetrich leave, it doesn’t change anything for her theatre group.
“Nothing’s changing for us, unless we hear otherwise,” King told the Now-Leader Wednesday. “We’re two separate groups and they had their sessions and drop-in events, and we had our rehearsals and building events.
“If anything is going to change going forward, that’s the city’s decision,” she added.
King said she feels for the hip hop group.
“On behalf of Royal Canadian Theatre company, we’re very sorry that Streetrich found they were unable to continue and we wish them the very best,” she said. “We know they’re going through a time of transition and difficulty. We know how hard it is in this day and age to hold together an arts organization when funding is tight and volunteers are everything. Our volunteers are our life blood.”
Meantime, RCTC is ramping up for a full 2018/19 season (more details at rctheatreco.com).
Upcoming productions include Arsenic and Old Lace, kicking off Oct. 17 at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster and debuting at the Surrey Arts Centre Oct. 26.
RCTC is also working on its annual pantomime, this year featuring a new dame. Its Hansel, Gretel & the Strolling Players panto kicks off on Dec. 18 at Surrey Arts Centre.
Then, on March 8, 2019 the club will debut its A Bedfull of Foreigners show at Surrey Arts Centre.
-With files from Tom Zillich