After weeks of meetings, discussion and speculation, the Board of St. Paul’s United Church has made a decision to partner with Hospice North Hastings to operate the Village Playhouse. The church commends the Playhouse Operating Committee on their past eighteen years of management.
The Playhouse, owned by the United Church, has worked over the years with the Algonquin Arts Council (AAC) and the Playhouse Operating Committee (POC) to keep the historic building open but with the AAC decision to give up the long-term lease, new possibilities emerged.
“We love using the Village Playhouse for our monthly North of 7 Film Fest Movies and whenever we’re in the building it’s easy to start thinking about more uses, programming and exciting events,” explains Hospice coordinator, Heather Brough.
In addition to their regular Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) screenings, Hospice has run a one-day Doc Fest, featuring four renowned films and for Hockey Day in Canada, programming included a family film as well as featuring the Canadian film, “Goon.”
The future of the Village Playhouse was decided by United Church representatives after consultation with the AAC, the Bancroft Theatre Guild, Bancroft Summer Theatre, the POC and Hospice North Hastings. With a decision reached and The United Church partnering with Hospice North Hastings, the United Church sees the opportunity to expand their already existing outreach programs to include more community events and to reach even more residents of North Hastings. This will be a real revitalization of an amazing asset in the downtown core.
What this means for the community is that there will be more opportunity to see great shows, use the building for community events and to be part of the exciting changes that are happening in downtown Bancroft. All existing contracts for any bookings at the Village Playhouse, will of course be honoured.
“With the boom in galleries, great shops and places to eat and drink, there is really no better time to revitalize, restore and bring life back to this Bancroft landmark,” says Brough. “And now is the time to start thinking about the possibilities. We want the community to get in touch with great ideas, suggestions and we want to start creating a wish list of shows and performers that everyone would enjoy seeing on this great stage.”
Hospice North Hastings will be announcing some new events over the weeks ahead and Bancroft Summer Theatre has confirmed a summer run of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” after completing a successful Kickstarter campaign to secure the production rights.
“The Theatre District is coming back to life and with our amazing partners we expect the whole community to benefit,” says Brough. “It’s just how we do things successfully here in North Hastings.”
Hospice North Hastings will be calling a public meeting in the next few weeks to invite the community in to brainstorm on community uses for the space as well as putting together a wish list of talent and productions to book at the historic theatre.