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Carbonear hits the lights on NaGeira Theatre extension

By Mark Squibb/June 17, 2022

When you go to the theatre, you often have to employ your imagination to enjoy the show. You know the actors on stage are just pretending and the sets are decoration, but you still enjoy the show because you choose to suspend your belief and play pretend.

But an audience in attendance at the Princess Shelia NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear last week had no need to employ their imaginations — they were seeing the real thing.

“It’s a special occasion, a momentous occasion indeed, as we officially open this extension to the Princess Shelia NaGeira Theatre Complex,” said the theatre’s chairman of the board, Ches Ash. “Members of the board, and other members, will identify with how long this has taken, and that we’ve been working on it for a while. But now it’s a reality… you no longer have to imagine it.”

The extension, which consists of the addition of a kitchenette, large multi-purpose room which connects to the backstage area, as well as an improved and enlarged backstage space, complete with renovated dressing rooms and washrooms, was cost-shared with both the federal and provincial governments.

Ottawa contributed $787,800, while the Province contributed $282,213. The Town paid the remaining $133,950, for a total outlay of $1.16 million.

As Ash indicated, the expansion was a long time in the works. The funding approval came in April of 2019, and construction began in November of 2020. Discussions about the need for a larger space began years before that.

“I know that many times, council has allowed chambers to be used as a dressing room,” said Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA and Minister of Tourism Steve Crocker, who also spoke to the 60 or 70 some-odd folks gathered for the ceremony. “So, this really completes this space… and no doubt we will see this space used to its full capacity for community events. This theatre is a great source of pride for the entire Baccalieu Trail region.”

Mayor Frank Butt also praised the benefits the expansion will bring.

“Theatre Manager Bryan Pike has a whole new tool to ensure the full potential of the Princess NaGeira Theatre is achieved,” said Butt. “We will be able to offer an environment that allows groups and individuals to hold functions using this new facility that we could not otherwise do. We look forward to the continued increase in activity as I have confidence in the new theatre manager to make this happen.”

Plaques acknowledging former theatre managers Linda Gallant and Albert Noel were hung by members of both families, and music performed by ‘Other Feller’ Ray Johnson and several of his students bookended the ceremony.

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