Would you rather have a pretty theatre or a healthy theatre scene?
Recently, David Mirvish announced that the Princess of Wales Theatre will be razed to make way for a condo and culture complex.
Of course, no one wants to see a theatre, especially one as beautiful as the POW, gone. But there are too many big houses in the city already, and for whatever reason - economy, the changing nature of shows, demographics - they're frequently dark or playing to smallish crowds.
Tell me you haven't walked by the Sony Centre or Elgin/Winter Garden and noticed blank marquees, or dates a month or two in the future.
As someone who goes to over 200 shows a year, I'd rather see fewer theatres constantly busy. Obviously, Mirvish - a businessman as well as an art lover - wants that, too. A money-making theatre means he can keep bringing shows to audiences in his other houses.
The fact that he has a vision for that complex - Frank Gehry design, free public art gallery for his abstract art collection, OCAD building - speaks volumes. And he's been open with the press. Classy.
Which brings me to what's happening at Factory Theatre, whose board of directors fired artistic director Ken Gass and, despite protests by thousands in the theatre community, went ahead and appointed an interim artistic team.
Word is, the board and Gass disagreed over renovation plans for the building. But where Mirvish was open about what's happening, the board has kept mum. Which is ironic, given their not-for-profit status and the fact that they should be accountable to the public that supports them.
As Mirvish told me during the launch of his Off-Mirvish season of remounts, T.O. is blessed by having the Tarragon, Theatre Passe Muraille and Factory to produce and encourage new scripts.
New plays, not lavish venues, are lifeblood of the theatre. Plays by George F. Walker and Michel Marc Bouchard originally scheduled for the Factory aren't happening because the writers - two of the country's best - have withdrawn them in protest.
It also remains doubtful whether all those boycotting the Factory will attend the rest of the season. So the work of dozens of writers, actors, designers and directors will go unseen.
That makes me sadder than the loss of the Princess of Wales.