T hey say it takes a village to keep communi- ty organizations afloat. For Kentville’s Cen- treStage Theatre Society (CSTS), it helps if you also have a love for the stage. The non-profit, which began in 1983, has been the product of the sweat and toiling of actors, those behind-the-scenes, and most recently, a board of directors, since 1999. “A group of actors who worked with Jack Sheriff from Acadia Uni- versity started this community theatre.“ He attracted a large following of community members and students who got involved in plays,” said current board chairman George Henry. They rehearsed Neil Simon’s Chapter Two for most of 1983 while looking for a venue in which to perform it. The 6 shows of the 1984 season were presented in the ballroom at the Cornwallis Inn and from 1985 to 2002 at the Centre Square location. In 1999, the previous actors and stage managers retired from the craft, and a new group took over control. “We continued as CentreStage, were still a com- munity theatre, but we registered as a society. We have members, and people who can be tapped into for sets, acting, and to provide a 13-member board. We all help on an equal basis,” says Henry. They run eight to 10 full shows a year, including two or three family shows, a dinner theatre and eight drama camps. Play nights are Fridays and Saturdays with 2 Sunday matinees per run. “By the end of this year, we’ll have done 300 productions. In 2002 we moved to our present location, renting the bottom floor of the I.O.O.F. Hiawatha Lodge, and in 2009 purchased the “People who had been with Jack wanted to do local theatre in Kentville and started this up.”

building. The I.O.O.F. and Rebeccas were so helpful and generous and, I think, were pleased to have us,” he said. “When we moved to the new location, we had only $8,000. The risers, stage, box office, storage areas, dressing rooms, tech booth, and green room all had to be built. We re-used the lights from the old venue, and the-new-to-us seats were acquired from the Acadia Cinema in Wolfville. We closed a play in the old venue and opened in the new with the next production. On the opening weekend we discovered that the stage was too low and by the next weekend a new stage was in place as well as three air conditioners which were purchased via a loan from three direc- tors. We spent about $75,000 in the move and ren- ovation and were debt-free in a year-and-a-half.” We have renovated three times since then, to the tune of $775,000. Through community donations,

CentreStage Theatre Community Theatre succeeding on volunteer efforts

By Jordan Parker

CentreStage Theatre is located in the small rural town of Kentville along the Fundy Shore of the Annap- olis Valley region of Nova Scotia and since 1984 they have been offering patrons both from the region and beyond a live amateur theatre experience in the heart of the apple country. Spotlight on Business talks with George Henry to learn more about this year-round community theatre that not only provides the Annapolis Valley region with live theatre performances but also offers an outlet for the creative talents of its citizens in the process.

admission costs, fundraisers, and government grants, we remain debt-free.

“It wasn’t some act of great genius. It was sweat equity by all the volunteers. There are no paid


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