CATena offers glimpse into Central Alberta Theatre’s new season

Visitors can also check out Memorial Centre refurbishments

For a look into what Central Alberta Theatre will be offering this upcoming season, check out CATena on Sept. 28th at the Memorial Centre.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and showtime is set for 7 p.m.

Organizers are thrilled to be showcasing the new season for Central Alberta theatre and the Memorial Centre in general, all in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days.

This evening will also include special ticket giveaways, tasty appetizers courtesy of the Black Knight Inn, a signature CATena drink from Troubled Monk Brewery and more.

In addition to this year’s program, hosts will also be running tours of the newly renovated facility.

“We use this opportunity as a season launch,” said Nicole Leal, CAT’s production manager. “For the CAT side of things, (samples of) all four of our dinner theatres will be performed. There will be little snippet scenes from each show, so the audience can see what they are all about,” she said.

“This gives them an opportunity to pick and choose which one they would like to come and see, or decide they may wish to see the entire season.”

If that’s the case, CAT reps will be selling discounted season tickets, said Leal.

“It’s also a chance to get other people from the community in and do a little bit of music, too,” she added of a few featured musicians who will be performing throughout the evening as well. “It’s great to have the public come in, have some food, mingle – and we will have some booths set up so they can see who some of the sponsors are as well.”

Leal said CATena is bigger and better than ever this year with lots of CAT and Memorial Centre staff onboard to really help spread the word about what’s happening through the year, but also to show off how terrific the facility looks after extensive refurbishments, repairs and renovations which took place over the summer.

“We want to show them this is who we are,” she said. It’s also about showing how important community support is to the entire CAT organization. CATena is also a chance to introduce folks to the organization in hopes of encouraging volunteer help, too, which can come in an array of forms.

“Our actors are excited to present as well,” said Leal about the presentations planned for the evening.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, the Memorial Centre is sporting a fresh, new, modernized look these days thanks to extensive work done over the summer months.

City council approved approximately $2.3 million a couple of years ago for the work, said Darrel Dixon, technical manager/operations with the Memorial Centre and CAT.

“They did a lot of electrical and mechanical upgrades last year, and then this year, we concentrated on cosmetic changes,” he said of the building, which was built back in 1941 as a drill hall during the Second World War.

In 1951, it was fashioned into a community theatre and reopened as the Memorial Centre.

Some of the old floors were replaced, and the entire original wooden floor from 1951 in the auditorium – which seats 704 people – was sanded down, stripped and refinished, he said.

Extensive painting throughout the facility has given it a fresh, crisp look and the washrooms were redone as well. The stage, which wasn’t exactly level, is now completely repaired, and the lobby now features some attractive woodwork for a warmer feel. New lighting has also been added to the auditorium as well.

It’s indeed a busy place. Dixon said everything from rehearsals to concerts to speakers to plays are held year-round.

Festival Hall has also seen extensive refurbishments as well, he said.

For more information about CAT, check out www.centralalbertatheatre.com.

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