What do you do with an abandoned church facing demolition? You turn it into a theatre — that’s what a group in Sydney, N.S., has done.

St. Andrews Church was decommissioned in 2013 after the dwindling congregation decided the heating bills for the 104-year-old sanctuary were too expensive.

Kevin Colford, a local musician and businessman, stepped in to buy the grand building in September. He promised to turn it into an arts space and this week showed off the renovated theatre.

The interior retains many of the church’s features.

Highland Arts Theatre's George MacKenzie, Lisa Ferguson-Penny, Ron Newcombe

Highland Arts Theatre's George MacKenzie, Lisa Ferguson-Penny and Ron Newcombe stand by the former church. (Courtesy Kevin Colford)

“Sound and lighting have all been upgraded, while the pews have been replaced with 650 stadium-style theatre seats," said artistic director Wesley Colford.

"However, renovations have thus far been for function only — the natural aesthetic and acoustics remain intact."

It will open in June as an arts and culture centre.

The first show will be Colford’s musical comedy called The Wakowski Brothers — A Cape Breton Vaudeville.