50-year-old University of Alberta theatre to receive $11M facelift
Since opening in 1967, it’s been home to thousands of dance performances, comedy shows and concerts. Now, as it approaches its 50th anniversary, the Myer Horowitz Theatre at the University of Alberta will receive a much-needed facelift.
The 720-seat theatre in the Students’ Union Building will undergo major renovations. The project is expected to cost $11 million; $7 million of which the students’ union hopes to fundraise to support the theatre’s revitalization.
“Campus needs a modern theatre, and just patching it up isn’t enough,” Marc Dumouchel, GM of the students’ union, said. “The arts are a key element to developing well-rounded graduates, and the theatre is a key link between campus and the broader community.”
The inside of the theatre will be updated and brought up to modern standards. The students’ union, which owns and operates the theatre, also hopes to renovate and expand the lobby, possibly adding more meeting space.
“The deficiencies that we need to get addressed to make sure that we stay on the leading edge are anything on technical aspects, such as lighting, sound, the lobby, as well as the box office and even to as simple as replacing the seats,” said Robyn Paches, the vice president of operations and finance with the University of Alberta Students’ Union.
Paches said some of the equipment in the theatre is upwards of 30 years old.
“We’d like to update it so when students operate this, they’re learning on the cutting edge equipment so they’re ready and able to operate such equipment in the real world.”
About 100,000 people attend events at the Myer Horowitz every year. In 2015, the theatre hosted 202 event days.
The contract for the renovations has been awarded to DIALOG, the company behind the recent renovation of the Students’ Union Building. The company has also worked with several other local theatres, including the Winspear Centre, ATB Financial Arts Barn and the Citadel Theatre.
“We think they’ll do a great job re-invigorating the Horowitz Theatre, which has been an iconic Edmonton venue for almost 50 years,” Dumouchel said.
The government of Alberta has put $40,000 towards the project, through the Community Facility Enhancement Program.
In its fundraising efforts, Paches said the students’ union will first reach out to former members of the student group before reaching out to community members that would benefit from the renovations.
The renovations are scheduled to be completed in 2018.
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