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Performing Arts Centre talks continue at Lethbridge Community Issues Committee

September 14, 2020

Plans for The Lethbridge Performing Arts Centre were discussed at City Hall today. These talks have been ongoing for 20 years. The Allied Arts Council and Performing Arts Centre Advocacy Group were at the Community Issues Committee explaining why the centre should come to Lethbridge. The groups had conducted three studies, which said our city was in need of a traditional Performing Arts Centre.

Dawn Leite is the Manager of Community Relations at the Allied Arts Council, and she says, "The next steps from here at this point would be for council to continue moving this project forward. To keep the project alive in the current CIP, and to continue to see the various steps that would be required."

Leite says the report for the Performing Arts Centre had a traditional proscenium style theatre when the Centre was thought up, "This theatre is one you would envision when you think about The Jubilee in Calgary, or The Jack Singer, where it's fixed seating, it has a fixed stage, and it has a fixed front of the theatre. Accompanied with that is a fly tower, which is typically something that we are lacking in our community when we talk about theatre technical pieces."

The traditional new venue has a proposed 950 seats for the Performing Arts Centre. Leite says that performers are having a hard time booking at the Yates Theatre before COVID-19 because they were usually booked solid, "If you are a new performing group, or a group that is looking to grow your organization, it is very challenging to find those dates available."

"By adding an additional facility, it will help with the actual physical capacity, but also the calendar and the days capacity, and then the technical requirements that our theatre community is looking for," adds Leite.

When asked if there will be money available for the project, Leite says that they are still quite a ways away from anything starting and putting shovels in the ground, "We don't have the site, we don't have detailed designs. We're not putting that shovel in the ground yet. There's still quite a bit of work that needs to be done between now and then."

The next step for the Performing Arts Centre is next week at City Council, where there will be a resolution to discontinue the project, and if it's approved, there will be a resubmission for the next Capital Improvement Plan for June. If the motion is defeated by council, the Performing Arts Steering Committee will reconvene to figure out their next steps.