The Central Alberta Theatre is currently practicing the theatrics of demolition as volunteers work to turn over their newly acquired space to Scott Builders on January 4.
The old Uptown Theatre is currently undergoing a transformation that executive director William Trefry hopes audiences will be able to enjoy in the summer.
The building’s largest theatre is being converted to a main stage while two screens will be maintained where films can be screened.
The new space expands CAT’s presence in Red Deer. With a 30-year lease agreement at the Memorial Centre and its dinner theatre at the Black Knight Inn, the Uptown Theatre space will enable CAT to offer more cultural events to the city.
Once construction and renovations are complete in April, there will be five or six weeks of technical work to prepare the yet-to-be named space for its first production.
Trefry’s aim is to stage shows in June for the annual one act festival, something he is “aggressively trying for.”
The theatre is also choosing a name for the new location. Recently CAT launched a contest inviting members and the public to submit name suggestions for the new location.
“We hope to have the name finalized in the New Year,” says Trefry. “We originally planned to name a winner by now,” but the response from the community was overwhelming.
More than 100 suggestions were submitted, and the committee has reduced the list to a shortlist of the top ten names. A general vote among the CAT membership will produce the winning name.
Until the new name fills the marquee and the curtain opens for the first show, CAT has unveiled a new sponsorship program to pay for the venue.
Beyond receiving $35,000 in grant money, CAT was also given a $40,000 loan from the City of Red Deer that the theatre must repay over a four- year period.
CAT is seeking corporate donors and individuals to support what it calls its contribution to the revitalization of the downtown.
To learn more about the sponsorship program and the new location’s development, visit www.centralalbertatheatre.ca.