GRAND BANK, N.L. – Improvisation is part and parcel of the theatre world.
So, the Grand Bank Regional Theatre switching venues this summer — while maybe an inconvenience — won’t stop the show.
The theatre was denied permission from Fire and Emergency Services – Newfoundland and Labrador to use its theatre on Water Street this year due to the condition of the building that houses the space.
After considering two alternatives, Partanna Auditorium and the Bait Depot, a decision has been made to use the latter.
Partanna Auditorium, located in the Grand Bank Municipal Centre, is used by the Grand Bank Community Youth Network for its programming. It would have meant major upheaval for youth in the area if the theatre were to relocate there.
The Bait Depot, which as the name implies is a former bait storage facility on the Grand Bank waterfront and is also owned by the town, was turned into a venue a few years ago and is used to host events on occasion.
Jack Burfitt, vice-chair of Lighthouse Production Inc.’s board of directors, told The Southern Gazette June 14 that work is underway to extend the stage at the venue so that it is big enough to accommodate the actors.
Burfitt said capacity for the Bait Depot is 199, but sightline issues mean seating for the shows won’t be quite that high.
“It looks like we’re probably going to be about 155, so we’re good to go with numbers and that sort of thing,” he said, adding initially it was thought there would only be space to seat 110-120 people.
Artistic director Levi Curtis, who said the switchover from the Water Street venue is progressing, gave the venue his seal of approval.
“It’s moving forward and we anticipate being ready for the gala (opening) on the seventh of July,” he said. “It’s a great space. It may be an adjustment for people, but it’ll be a good adjustment.”
The upcoming season will be the twenty-third for the Grand Bank Regional Theatre.
Four plays will be offered this summer – “Runaway,” written by Grand Bank’s own Kathleen Hollett, who is returning to this year’s cast; Phil Olson’s “A Nice Family Christmas”; and two Curtis-penned offerings – “Operation Roy, Al,” and “A Solitary Man,” a story of a man looking back on his life featuring the music of Neil Diamond.