PEI

Confederation Centre actors in need of housing for 2020 festival season

The Confederation Centre is beginning its search for housing options for its seasonal actors early this year, as the P.E.I. housing crunch is making it harder to find places for its players to live.

'We can't unfortunately create housing, we can only work with what we have'

The centre usually offers a list of housing options for the visiting actors. But, officials say finding enough rentals to fill that list has become harder in recent years. (Louise Vessey)

The Confederation Centre has started its search for housing options for its seasonal actors early this year, as the P.E.I. housing crunch is making it harder to find places for players to live.

The centre usually offers a list of housing options for the visiting troupes. But, officials with the centre say finding enough rentals to fill that list has become harder in recent years.

Adam Brazier, artistic director of performing arts at the Confederation Centre, said many of the properties that had been available in the past have transitioned to short-term rentals.

"Places that we rented that had a good five months for the artists to live in are now off the market for us.

Brazier said the centre typically brings 40 to 50 actors, directors, designers and musicians to P.E.I. to work on various productions in the Charlottetown Festival throughout the summer. He said increasing rental prices have also made it difficult to find affordable places that also fit the actors needs.

We've had some artists who have had to go couch-surfing for a while.— Adam Brazier, Confederation Centre 

"We're putting out the call because it has become a bigger challenge over the past three years and this is something that we need community support in to make happen," he said. 

"We need these artists to be able to come and afford a cost of living here on the Island."

Artists can't afford to stay on P.E.I.

But Brazier said for some actors, making the trip to the Island is no longer financially viable. He said some actors and other workers on the productions are simply not willing to be a part of the festival because of the cost of housing. 

"The challenge is for a lot of artists, that 'Well if I can't rent out my place in Toronto or Calgary or wherever I am, I can't actually afford to come and do the festival,'" Brazier said.

Adam Brazier, artistic director of performing arts at the Confederation Centre, says for some actors, making the trip to the Island is no longer financially realistic. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

He also said since many of the actors come to the Island from other provinces or countries, they usually don't have cars and need to find housing within walking distance of the centre. He said some have had to resort to sharing accommodations or finding space in people's living rooms in order to stay in Charlottetown.

"We've had some artists who have had to go couch-surfing for a while, and it's really unfortunate and we really try very hard not to let that happen," he said.

"We can't unfortunately create housing, we can only work with what we have."

Centre also renting dorm rooms

Brazier said anyone willing to offer a rental property can reach out to the Confederation Centre to have it added to the list. 

He said the centre is interested in all available rentals, even if they aren't available for the entire season. 

"Whether it is something that can be held for five months or even if it's something that you have for five weeks as well, it's worth reaching out."

Brazier said the centre is also working with Holland College to rent dorm rooms, and the centre is open to exploring other housing options moving forward.

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