The White Rock Players Club elected a new board at its annual annual general meeting on Sunday – and Ryan Mooney is not on it.
Mooney and the club have come under fire recently after media reports revealed that the prolific theatre director had a record as a sex offender – as a result of pleading guilty to a 2006 sexual assault on a 15 year-old girl – and that some members of the club executive were aware of it when he was elected to the board two years ago.
Newly elected president and Players Club veteran Fred Partridge said Mooney chose not to put his name forward for the board, citing pressures of being a board member at the same time as directing productions for the Players Club and his own Vancouver-based Fighting Chance Productions.
“He decided it would be better for him to focus on directing,” Partridge said Monday.
Mooney – whose conditional, one-year, community-served sentence, imposed in 2009, barred him from theatre productions involving youth under 18 – will still be director of two adult shows in the club’s upcoming season, Noises Off and The Drowsy Chaperone.
As in previous years, he will not be involved with the annual Christmas pantomime – the principal club show with youth involvement.
The award-winning director and actor’s volunteer position as artistic director with the club will “probably” continue, Partridge said, although he added that this has yet to be confirmed by the new board (scheduled to have its first meeting Aug. 21) and the position itself may be under some review.
Partridge said the issue of Mooney’s involvement with the club, and club members’ knowledge of his record, was discussed for some 20 minutes by the general membership at the AGM.
Partridge said one member voiced the opinion that Mooney’s continued presence would prove to be a liability to the club because of public perceptions.
“But out of the 60 people present, that was the only person who expressed that view,” he said.
Partridge said members “basically expressed their support” for Mooney’s continued involvement in the club, and noted that he “had done everything he said he would” in fulfilling terms of his sentence, in being open about his record with executive members and in meeting Players Club policies and procedures.
“Nothing has changed between the members and Ryan,” Partridge said, adding that he believes “80 per cent of members knew about it (Mooney’s sentence).”
“Ryan is probably the most watched person in the club, and has been,” Partridge added. “He knows that he is being watched. We’re worried more about people we don’t know.
“The club’s been putting on productions with children for 50 years. We’ve always been concerned about children’s safety and there have always been procedures in place to protect children.”
In addition to Partridge, the new Players Club board, installed for a two-year term, includes long-time club members Pat McClean as vice-president and Karen Doolan as treasurer. Vanessa Klein returns as corresponding secretary and social media co-ordinator and Gordon Mantle as recording secretary.
Directors-at-large are Dave Carroll, Matt Dickie, Colleen McGoff Dean, Rebekah McEwen and Leigh Burton.