New theatre complex for Gros Morne Festival
Festival in Cow Head now turning people away because there are not enough seats
Theatre and tourism on Newfoundland and Labrador's Northern Peninsula got a major boost Friday with the provincial and federal governments announcing money for a new theatre complex.
A total of $4.2 million will go toward the 178-seat building, which will include a stage, rehearsal space, dressing rooms, lobby and box office.
"I'm so thrilled. It's been in the works for a long time," said Katrina Basha, chair of the board of directors for Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Cow Head has attracted more than 200,000 patrons since 1996.
This year we turned away more people than any other year. So It's long overdue.- Katrina Basha
Productions are now staged in the Warehouse Theatre, which has only 92 seats. Basha said she is sick of turning away money.
"We are actually turning away people every night for shows. In fact, this year we turned away more people than any other year. So It's long overdue," Basha said.
The new 2,000-square-metre theatre complex will host plays, musicals and dinner shows.
For 23 years, Gros Morne Theatre Festival has seen tourists from across the globe come to watch plays about the area and its rich history.
"People are really coming on board. We are becoming really well known. The word is out there," Basha said.
Construction on the new complex, which is across the street from the existing theatre, will begin in April 2018 and should be completed by the 2019 festival season.
"Governments are on board with making this site a wonderful sight for people to come and visit," Basha said.
With files from Colleen Connors