The federal heritage minister announced Wednesday the federal government will give $945,000 over two years to help pay for upgrades to Halifax's Neptune Theatre.

"By investing in the theatre we will make sure they continue to create great work for many years to come," said Mélanie Joly.  

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said the province will also provide $100,000 for the renewal project.

"We're thrilled to continue to support Neptune," he said. 

The province gives the theatre $240,000 in operating grants every year.

Heritage Minister at Neptune Theatre

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly opened the government's wallet on Wednesday to help pay for renovations at Neptune Theatre. (Pam Berman/CBC)

Neptune is in its 55th season and is the largest professional theatre in the region. It employs 400 people and contributes $7 million to the local economy every year.  

The federal and provincial money, along with private donations, will be used to modernize the lighting and sound equipment, replace the seating and upgrade the box office.

"Our systems are so old that we can't repair them with existing parts, they have to be manufactured," said Rebecca Hiltz LeBlanc, president of the Neptune Foundation.  

"The technology in the box office is so old it's a miracle any tickets get printed."  

Neptune theatre stage work

Workers at the theatre have been dealing with outdated parts and machines for years. A renovation will modernize parts of the building. (Pam Berman/CBC)

The marquee on the outside of the building will also be computerized and replaced with LED lighting. Renovations will begin this summer in the Scotiabank stage and then move to the main stage, Fountain Hall, next summer.

"So we still have to have a stage to work ... so one thing at a time," said Hiltz Leblanc.  

Neptune officials could not elaborate on the total cost of the renovation project because the specialized equipment is still being tracked down and the value of the Canadian currency keeps changing.