Tuesday , 5 July 2022

Council commits funding to performing arts venue

City Council has committed $85,000 to the construction of a performing arts theatre in Bonnyville that looks to serve the entire Lakeland region.

The proposed venue is being developed by the Clayton Bellamy Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit organization founded by singer-songwriter and Bonnyville native Clayton Bellamy in 2021. The foundation presented its business plan and request for funding to City Council at its regular meeting on May 10.

“A purpose-built performing arts venue for our local musicians and theatre groups to showcase and hone their skills is something that we don’t currently have anywhere in the Lakeland, and it’s something that would truly benefit the region,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.

“There are plans to eventually build a performing arts venue at the Energy Centre, but that project is still several years away, and it would likely come after the proposed aquatic centre is built at the Energy Centre. In the meantime, this new theatre will provide a place for the current generation of actors and musicians to improve their skills and perform, while giving our residents a new option for family entertainment through live concerts, recitals and performances.”

The 300-seat, $1.02 million theatre will be built on the site of the former Lyle Victor Albert Centre, which was demolished in 2021 during the renovation of Bonnyville Centralized High School. Construction and operation of the facility will be partially modeled on the Mac Lab Theatre, a similar school/performing arts theatre combination venue in Leduc.

“Council recognizes this is a large sum of money to commit to a facility that is being built in another municipality, but we feel it will be a great benefit to our residents and will help drive the music and performing arts scene all across the Lakeland,” said Copeland.

“We know the Clayton Bellamy Foundation would like to have shovels in the ground as soon as possible, and they expect to begin construction as soon as they are financially able. The City’s $85,000 commitment will come with the stipulation that construction must begin within two years.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.