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Encore's deal for downtown theatre space falls through

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 24, 2014 - 9:57 AM |
Members of the Encore Theatre troupe are searching for a downtown space for their own theatre. Supplied photo.

Members of the Encore Theatre troupe are searching for a downtown space for their own theatre. Supplied photo.

Troupe delays season launch, determined to find new location

Things were looking rosy for Encore Theatre Company just before Christmas.

Having secured a 1,200 square foot former retail space on Elm Street, the troupe thought they'd achieved their ambition of finding the perfect spot for their own theatre.

The company, which is entering its third season, has been staging plays at the Ernie Checkeris Theatre at Thorneloe University, but was looking for a space in the downtown to make their work more accessible for audiences.

It also wanted to add vibrancy to the downtown, which has seen several retail stores close recently.

However, in the final hour of negotiations, the deal fell through.

Despite this setback, Encore is determined to find another downtown space, and has an appointment to look at some properties next week, according to the group's artistic director, Callam Rodya.

“The search continues,” he said. “If anybody has leads, we'd love to hear them.”

Meanwhile, Encore — which specializes in producing edgy, alternative plays — has delayed the official launch of its 2014 season, which was originally supposed to take place Jan. 24.

Rodya said the troupe didn't want to hold its launch when there was still so much uncertainty about where it would be producing theatre.

“We were really hoping to be able to launch the new season in the new space,” he said. “It would have looked like hell, to be honest, but we could have revealed this new space.”

If all goes well, and another space is secured, Encore will be able to launch its season — which is being billed as “extra bold,” and even features the “sulphuric” work of a local playwright — in three weeks to a month.

At that time, the troupe will also kick off a capital campaign to renovate its new theatre space, something with Rodya said will probably cost $10,000 to $15,000.

Encore's first production of the year — details will be revealed once the launch finally takes place — is set to hit the stage in the second week of April.

Rodya said it will be possible to stage the production in a space which isn't fully finished because it isn't a technically demanding piece.

Even if Encore isn't able to find another downtown space in time, it'll still be able to use the Ernie Checkeris Theatre, Rodya said.

“We're asking for our audience and fans to kind of bear with us, and kind of follow along on this journey with us,” he said.

“We think it's a really important move for the continued sustainability of the company, and it's one of the best ways we can grow our audience.”

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Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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