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Summerside theatre complex celebrates ten years in the business

by Michelle René Sexton

Harbourfront Theatre staff, from left: General Manager Maurice Gallant, Director of Youth Programs Joady Walton, Director of Operations Mary Gallant, Office Manager Laurie CarrPast, present, and future give cause to celebrate as the Harbourfront Theatre honours its ten year anniversary. What better way to do this than reflecting on the past, changing the present, and reaching high for the future. In the past the theatre was used strictly as a rental facility, but that had huge implications and made it hard to develop its own identity. “We had a few lean years,” remarked Maurice Gallant, General Manager.

In the summers of 1997 and 1998 the theatre mounted Maritime Star Musical and Jamboree, both successful and the start of more productions to come. “People thought it couldn’t be done,” said Maurice. It ended up working better than anyone could have hoped. “It was a catalyst for some arts and doing more things,” said Joady Walton, Director of Youth Programs. Community effort and support helped make the theatre a success and in 2003 a turn around in management brought a different vision which helped the theatre finally come into its own.

In its present state the theatre has a stronger involvement with the community. Schools perform high quality plays with realistic props. There are also more youth programs. “We do a lot! We rent, produce, and present. We’re well balanced in all three. The goal was to become more of a community based theatre. It worked to be connected to what sells with the community, what clients want, and more development,” said Maurice. In addition the theatre boasts its own production company, which stages seven to eight shows a year (Melville Boys, Wizard of Oz). The theatre also works well due to its fantastic volunteers. “They’re a huge part of us,” smiled Mary Gallant, Director of Operations. Another aid is the new sign that stands proudly in front of the theatre, a generous gift from Oran Canada. “It’s our sign now,” smiled Joady. “Before we were sharing signs with the yacht club and waterfront mall so things got confusing about what or who was playing where. Now we have our own sign displaying what we do.”

Reaching for a stronger future, the Jubilee will hold more fundraising projects such as selling off remaining theatre seats at $1000 each, sponsorship books, and offering a subscription series and program. Anne and Gilbert will return to the stage in the summer of 2007. Cinema showings will continue as will concerts—a modern and classical series—, weddings, and more. “The theatre is in constant use,” agreed Maurice, Joady, and Mary. The community is starting to build the theatre’s popularity. “We owe a lot of people thanks: The City of Summerside, Government, the province, partnership with the Wellness Centre, and finally tourism,” said Maurice.

Tourism and a small development boom in old downtown will also help the theatre in future. The theatre plans a change in name dropping the word “Jubilee” and choosing “Harbourfront Theatre.” The community will be surprised at first, but change has proved to work well with this theatre. The Harbourfront Theatre is located at 124 Harbour Drive, Summerside. Phone: 902-888-2787 or 800-708-6505. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

Culture days

Free activities on September 29 at the Confederation Centre Culture Days is a three-day nation-wide [ ... ]

DMayne Event returns

With guests Jerry–Faye, Jamie Comeau and the Crooked Teeth, and Math Class October 12 at Spo [ ... ]

Comic Book Art

Exhibit features work by Island comic book creators Until October 5
Eptek Centre There is a thrivin [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Filmworks Summerside

Film series is back for 7th season Filmworks Summerside opens for their 7th season on September 12  [ ... ]

An Island wish

On August 23, 4 year old Cooper Coughlin will arrive on Prince Edward Island soil for a once in a li [ ... ]