It’s been a year since Hospice North Hastings formed a partnership to operate the Bancroft Village Playhouse. The Playhouse is owned by St. Paul’s United Church but had been operated by different groups over the years. With the creation of a new revenue stream in mind, Hospice jumped-in with hopes of bringing the old theatre back to life. Everyone knew it would take time but with the completion of the new façade, things are coming together for a great summer season.
Theatre performances, film screenings, live music, comedy and a monthly talk show have been keeping the theatre bustling but it seemed like the list of repairs was always growing. The two furnaces were often at odds with each other, the lobby needed a clean-up, bathrooms were outdated and the green room was not going to impress any talent. But besides the interior cosmetics, the façade of the building was a real concern.
Not only was the entrance in rough shape; the balcony was simply unsafe.
So with a deep breath and the intent to keep moving forward, all the work was started. The interior work was done with huge help from local businesses like Leons and Timber Mart. The work was also completed by an army of volunteers led by Richard Baynes; who spent time painting the interior spaces.
The façade was a huge project with a big price tag so Hospice coordinator and Playhouse manager Heather Brough, with the support from the Board at Hospice North Hastings, reached out to the CFDC and accessed one of their many small business loan programs. With funds in place, the work was completed by Barry Bowers and his amazing crew.
“This façade improvement project was a tremendous undertaking and we needed financial resources to get the building repaired,” Brough explains. “While the theatre will eventually provide a revenue stream for programs and services provided by Hospice North Hastings, it was crucial that no funds from Hospice North Hastings be diverted to the theatre. With the help of the CFDC we’re working towards another successful business venture that will help support the community and we think, make the theatre district look better than ever.”
The new façade includes street level patio space and the upstairs balcony will be the perfect spot for people watching in the good weather. Once the dry weather arrives the exterior of the building will also be painted.
“We look forward to making this theatre a success and continuing to build on our goal of providing caring through culture,” Brough said. “In the next few weeks we’ll be launching our summer line-up and we can’t wait to show off all the repairs to our loyal supporters.”