Stratford Festival gets $20M from Trudeau government for new Tom Patterson Theatre
City of Stratford still needs to declare land surplus before new theatre can be built
Stratford Festival has two-thirds of the money it needs to build its new Tom Patterson Theatre after Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly announced a $20 million contribution by the federal government on Monday.
"Cultural and recreational infrastructure make our communities places where families can play, where neighbours can meet, and where Canadians can celebrate the many cultures that make up our country," Joly said in a news release.
It will cost $68 million with federal and provincial governments contributing $20 million each. The rest will come from fundraising efforts by the festival itself.
From curling rink to world-class theatre
The new building will be designed by award-winning architect Simak Hariri; a bespoke structure that expands upon the current Tom Patterson, which is a retrofitted curling rink that the theatre transformed into a elongated thrust stage for the summer months.
A look at today's announcement of federal funding of $20 million for the construction of the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. <a href="https://t.co/JlDAuyi6ue">pic.twitter.com/JlDAuyi6ue</a>—@stratfest
But a bigger theatre is just the beginning, Gaffney said. It will have space for the festival's Forum events, which are often panels or workshops tied to themes in Stratford Festival's season, and new multimedia opportunities, Gaffney said.
"It will have a expanded digital capacity so that we'll be able to stream a lot of our Forum events and share more of our work ... and ultimately bring more people to Stratford."
Municipality must declare lands surplus
Despite the federal and provincial funding commitments, the new Tom Patterson Theatre won't be built until it gets approval from the City of Stratford — which owns the land and the Kiwanis Community Centre that houses the existing Tom Patterson Theatre.
City council is considering declaring the lands surplus. To do that, it needs to hold a public meeting, which will happen Jan. 15.
Meanwhile, the total cost estimate for the project has grown by $8 million since it was first announced in August.
Gaffney told CBC News the estimate rose from $60 million to $68 million due to a number of factors, including the addition of a "healthy" contingency fund and escalating costs.
With files from the CBC's Peggy Lam