Edmonton cultural venues get $6.5 million

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre and Winspear Centre received a $6.5 million cash infusion Tuesday from the province and the city of Edmonton.

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre and Winspear Centre have received a $6.5 million cash infusion from the province and the city of Edmonton.

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre received $6 million in provincial and muncipal funding this week. ((CBC))

"The Winspear and Citadel are among Edmonton's premier venues for live theatre, music, concerts and recitals," Lindsay Blackett, Alberta's Minister of Culture and Community Spirit said Tuesday. 

"This investment in Edmonton's thriving arts district will help these facilities continue to showcase Edmonton's and Alberta's arts and cultural community for generations to come."

The Alberta government gave $2.4 million to the Citadel, and $500,000 to the Winspear.  The City of Edmonton is contributing an additional $3.6 million to the Citadel.

The Winspear will use its funding to enhance audio, visual and lighting equipment, complete the choir loft, concession stands, and public address system, and replace carpeting in the lobby.

The money for the Citadel will be used to renovate the main floor lobby and the administration office, replace and repair exterior glass, and develop new ticketing software and communications systems.

Penny Ritco, executive director of the Citadel Theatre, says the 34-year-old building really needs the renovations. 

She says people have complained about the availability of washrooms, and the state of the carpet in the theatre.

"It been raining a lot in the past two weeks. The window sections in the Shoctor lobby leak badly. I can't think that bodes well for energy efficiency,"  she said. "It's been a long time coming, and it's very, very, very needed."

Renovations on the Citadel started at the end of May.  Theatre staff hope to get the lobby renovations finished by the start of the new season in mid-September.

The money from the Alberta government is coming from the Major Community Facilities program, which is funded by provincial lotteries.