Stage North desperately seeking new home


In the Co-op Mall, the non-profit organization paid around $20,000 a year for their space, that wasn't equipped with running water or a bathroom. It's looking for a spot to rehearse and build sets, but Executive Director Sue Popesku says they haven't found any commercial space for less than $65,000 once hydro, taxes and street clearing is included.
"Money that we use for every show has to be made from some source, or sponsored by community help or fundraised," she says. "We just don't have the money to be putting out huge rates of commercial rent."
In the meantime, it has two C-Can storage containers that it's moving its sets, tools, and props into, and it's looking for another dry place to store costumes in. However, by the end of March it will have no place to rehearse or build sets.
This season of shows will be finished, with the upcoming Take Five using the high school's drama room for the time being, but next year's season may be in jeopardy. If Stage North doesn't have a season next year, Popesku argues the effect will spread much further than just the actors who won't perform, including the North Peace Cultural Centre, which receives $45,000 from the theatre society every year.
"If we can't produce a season, then we also can't support the Cultural Centre," she says. "The ripple effect of not having Stage North do their season is not just that the Cultural Centre is going to see a chuck taken out of their income, but also all the peripheral businesses and all the indirect things that happen because people come to shows.
She argues everything from babysitting jobs, restaurants for dinner before shows and flower shops will all be affected. She also maintains that Stage North is about more than just putting on shows; it's about building the confidence of its members.
"People building creative people," she says. "Having them confident enough to be able to use whatever they learn in presentations in their careers in the future. The benefit is tremendous for our young people."
The theatre society is hoping to find a space at least 2,000 square feet, but ideally 3,000 feet, with ceilings high enough to rehearse with sets, that can be a more permanent home than its previous locations.