The Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre will be a transformed facility once upcoming expansion work is completed.
The provincial and federal governments announced funding Thursday, April 11, to expand and renovate the theatre. According to a news release, a large multi-purpose room, kitchenette and larger backstage area will be added. The revamped backstage area will also include renovated dressing rooms and washrooms. This will allow the theatre to accommodate larger events and bigger productions.
“Right now, there are shows that won’t come out to the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre,” Mayor Frank Butt said, noting there’s limited space within the theatre once you go beyond the seating area and stage itself.
The Canadian government is offering a non-repayable contribution of $528,382 to the project, while the province is pitching in with $203,223. The town’s share is close to $81,500.
Expanding and renovating the 22-year-old structure has been discussed within council chambers for years. It cost $2.4 million to build in 1997.
“In the past couple of years, I guess the push was really put on there, and we worked out all the questions the funding providers had,” Butt said.
With funding now in place, the next step for the project will be to take another look at the engineering plans. After that, the mayor hopes to see a tender go out for work quickly. He’s hopeful construction will begin later this year, though he admits unforeseen delays could push the start back to 2020. Ideally, he would like to see everything completed by the summer of 2020.
“But that’s really dependent on the engineering and the process of tendering the work as well,” he said. “You don’t want to start a project in the fall of the year, because you know what happens – you’re into November and then a company will say it’s really too cold to do anything with it, and then you have your holidays in December and they put it off until the spring.”
Beyond being a big win for Carbonear, Butt views the theatre’s expansion as good news for the Trinity-Conception region as a whole.
“It’s used by people from all over the Baccalieu Trail,” the mayor said, adding the timing of the expansion works nicely with the downtown revitalization project in Carbonear.