Stage Door News

Collingwood: Theatre Collingwood parts ways with the Gayety Theatre

Monday, March 25, 2019

You may already be aware that Theatre Collingwood has had to part ways with the Gayety Theatre and we want to provide you with some additional details to assure you that our season will continue as planned - albeit at new locations.

The Gayety Theatre has been home to our productions for the past 15 years. Up until last year the rental rates, while higher than most small theatre companies pay for similar space, were still affordable. Last year our rate increased by 42% and we reluctantly agreed to the increase. At the same time our chair and the Gayety owner, Sid Dickinson had a verbal agreement that any increase over the next five years would be equal to the rate of inflation. This year, with an additional $2 per ticket fee (if we sell more than 150 tickets), our rental for a five-day show would be over $11,000.00, an increase of 69% in one year and almost two and a half times what we paid in 2016.

We always strive to make our tickets as affordable as possible. The rental of the performance space already constitutes a large portion of the ticket price. This increase in the rent of the Gayety would have resulted in a significant increase in our ticket price.

Your board has faced significant pressures over the years about the lack of accessibility at the Gayety. Last year, the building owner confirmed in writing that he would have a lift installed in the front entrance providing access for all. Despite written assurance, no lift was installed. Prior to removing a number of seats and adding the lounge area, our patrons with mobility challenges were able to access the washrooms. The new configuration does not accommodate anyone unable to climb stairs. The increase in the rental rate made it easy for your board to take the right decision and move our performances to accessible spaces.

Our sold out “Girls Night Out” show was successfully moved from the Gayety to the Normandy Room (adjacent to the Collingwood Legion). We were forced to make this move as the rental contract we were offered was more than double what we paid last year for a one-night show. Our patrons at that show were very positive about the location and many stated that it was superior to the Gayety.

We are currently working on alternate locations for our shows. Rest assured that all of our shows will happen as planned at appropriate locations. We will have details in the next few weeks. Some may happen outside of downtown Collingwood and we realize that this may be an inconvenience to some of our patrons. If this occurs, Theater Collingwood will provide complimentary buses to shuttle our patrons from Collingwood to and from the new venues. As an indication of the difference between what we would have paid at the Gayety and the cost at other equivalent or superior performance spaces, we would still be financially ahead after paying for buses.

When our new locations are confirmed, we will be informing all of you and especially those of you who are holding tickets for the shows. In all cases we will endeavour to provide equivalent seats.

2019 will be an exciting season as we provide live theatre at new exciting locations. We know you will support us, as you always have, as we embark on a slightly different course.

Yours truly,     

Richard Lemoine, Chair, Theatre Collingwood 

Erica Angus, Executive Director