News Local

New seats for Festival Hall

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer
Festival Hall Centre for the Performing Arts is hoping to install 510 of these comfortable, modern theatre seats. In the coming weeks, a fundraising campaign will be underway. In the photo with the chairs are (front left to right) Laurentian Valley Councillor Jen Gauthier, Pembroke Councillor Christine Reavie, (back left to right) Petawawa Councillor Murray Rutz and Festival Hall manager Rick Wharton.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Festival Hall Centre for the Performing Arts is hoping to install 510 of these comfortable, modern theatre seats. In the coming weeks, a fundraising campaign will be underway. In the photo with the chairs are (front left to right) Laurentian Valley Councillor Jen Gauthier, Pembroke Councillor Christine Reavie, (back left to right) Petawawa Councillor Murray Rutz and Festival Hall manager Rick Wharton.

 

Festival Hall Centre for the Performing Arts is moving to the next phase of their upgrades with the acquisition and installation of new luxury theatre seats.

The largest arts and events facility in the Ottawa Valley is working to build a better community theatre with the addition of 510 chairs to make it a friendlier, more comfortable place for patrons to take in the shows. The seats will be installed in both the lower and balcony sections of the hall.

“We may lose some seating capacity but we feel we can gain more attendance by offering this upgrade in the long run,” said Councillor Murray Rutz, who represents the Town of Petawawa on the municipal consortium that operates the hall. “This is a good news story.”

Festival Hall has been the region's showcase for a wide variety of cultural events spotlighting both local and visiting talent for almost 40 years, however, it is an institution that has required some revitalization. The current seats date back to the early 1980s.

“It's time for an update,” said Festival Hall manager Rick Wharton. “It's become a performance arts building versus a hall.”

Over the next month, a fundraising project will be launched with the sale of the old chairs used to help offset some of the expense. The hall is welcoming the support of any community group, organization, business or student group.

“This is in the early stages,” added Rutz. “There may be some people who want to come forward to help.”

The hall hopes to have the new chairs installed as soon as possible as they are entering another busy season. Last year saw an attendance of 17,000 for all events including independent, school and Festival Hall-sponsored shows. Wharton expects the hall to exceed that number in 2017.

“It's unbelievable how successfully things have gone,” he said.

Festival Hall has already benefited from substantial upgrades to stage sound and lighting systems. This year, they also hope to complete a recorded history of the hall going all the way back to 1979. For people or patrons interested in supporting the chair campaign, please call 613-735-2182 or check out the website at festival.ca.

SChase@postmedia.com