The search for a new location that met its needs and budget proved to be difficult for some time, but the first sponsor of the season has also provided the non-profit organization with a place to rehearse, store costumes and build sets. Sean Surerus of Surerus Pipelines will be handing over the keys to a large metal shed on his personal property to Executive Director Sue Popesku later this afternoon, and the big move in will begin on August 1. Without that space, Popesku argues the performances it puts on would not be able to happen.
“In order to do those performances, we do need a space such as what we just found, where we can do the rehearsals, we can do the set construction, the cast can work with the set before they actually move in to the Cultural Centre, and we can store and make our costumes,” she explains. “All that preparation is required prior to actually moving into the Cultural Centre and doing the performances.”
Now that a space has been found, a full season of shows has been scheduled, beginning with The Taming of the Shrew this November, followed by a Christmas show, Alice in the spring and its entry into the Peace River North Festival. There is also enough space that the idea of holding a performance in the shed is also being thrown around, as well the possibility of an outdoor show in the spring or summer.
“The space is big enough for a small audience of about 30 to 50 people,” says Popesku. “We’re going to try that out this year and see if that will work. We’re not as confined as we were in previous spaces. This is a bit of a wide open space with a lot of green space around, and I think it’s going to be very conducive to creative theatre.”
The green space is just one of the perks of the building that help balance the higher rent than the approximately $20,000 spent at the Co-op Mall. In addition to having heat, electricity and a cement floor, it also has a bathroom, something that was missing in Stage North’s previous location. Located on the East Bypass Road along the bend, it’s also close enough for younger members to get dropped off by their parents, and has plenty of space for parking.
“We’re on our way to bigger and better things,” says Popesku.