This letter is in response to the Lethbridge Herald article, Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Lethbridge is fortunate to have the Yates Theatre for performing arts groups to utilize. Performance arts have grown in the community. We have many talented individuals with not enough venues for them to share their talents in. Not only are the spaces needed for performance but also for rehearsals. Will the Yates continue to be used if a performing arts theatre is built? Yes, it will, and to capacity. Educators are searching for venues for their ensembles to perform in as well as smaller theatre companies, individuals, and many touring artists who currently bypass Lethbridge.
Seating capacity in the theatre is 480 attendees. Entrance is limited through usage of stairs and handicapped individuals encounter limited seating. Bathrooms are dated and offer limited availability when the house is sold out. Backstage area is restrictive.
Issues of need have been addressed in the past; it is time to bring our city's performance venue(s) into today's world. To accomplish this the Yates would need to close and then where do the performance ensembles go? Southminster? Even less bathroom availability and no backstage for drama productions. Southminster was built to serve as a church, not a performance venue. While we are fortunate to have its availability, it is limited.
The city has demonstrated its forward thinking and vision in building a community arts centre (CASA), which does not have a large ensemble performance section included. Upon completion of CASA, shifting the priority to building the new performing arts theatre would alleviate many concerns: renovations to the Yates Theatre could proceed without disrupting the performing arts organizations affected as they could utilize the new facility while providing significant and positive changes to the downtown area and supporting the city's BRZ and DARP. This would allow Lethbridge to attract touring artists of all genres providing important economic stimulus and entertainment opportunities for our citizens, and ensuring stability and growth for the arts in Lethbridge
It is now time to recognize the performing arts sector of our community - through building a larger, more accommodating performing arts centre. The city has used forward thinking in the area of sports. It is now time they do so for performing arts.
Lethbridge Symphony Association - Sandy Brunelle, president; Kendall Gibson; Mary Opyr; Doug Emek; Hildegard Robinson; Stephen Amonson; Ross Bruinsma; Glenn Klassen, artistic director; Dawn Leite, executive director
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