Bait De­pot tak­ing on a new life

Change in set­ting for Grand Bank Re­gional Theatre this sum­mer

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE GRAND BANK, N.L. [email protected]­

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 110120 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 mu­si­cal trib­ute to the life of Neil Di­a­mond.

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