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Magnus prepares for $8.4M in renovations

By Adam Riley Apr 11, 2023 | 5:00 AM

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Big changes are coming to Magnus Theatre, as the facility prepares to undergo a year long $8.4 million renovation that has been years in the making.

Artistic Director Thom Currie is excited for the new additions that will take the theatre into the future.

“We’re adding a 125 seat studio theatre, so there will now be two theatres in this footprint. In doing that we’re also gonna upgrade the bar and lounge and we’re going to add a production shop.”

That production shop is to accommodate for anything needed to be built for productions.

Currie notes during the summer months the outdoor stage used for other events in recent years will give Magnus a 3rd performance space to work with, opening up many more opportunities.

He adds the city has the capacity for an expanded arts program, meaning the second stage will be extremely valuable for the Thunder Bay arts scene.

While Magnus will still use the space, a big goal is to create space for others.

“Whether they’re musicians, whether they’re visual artists, whether they’re other theatre groups, new theatre groups, touring theatre groups. We want to see them working here at Magnus Theatre, sometimes the shows are too small for the big stage, so stuff that’s a little bit edgier is gonna go into the studio theatre now.”

Funding for the project is coming from a number of sources including fundraising through the private sector with the support of Canadian Heritage, the Trillium Foundation and government support.

The build also comes at a time when the downtown Port Arthur area is set to get a $13 million facelift and upgrade following approval from council last week.

Currie says Magnus benefits from many of the bars and restaurants in what he calls the city’s entertainment district, and in turn those business benefit from Magnus attracting people to the area and the investment is well received by him.

“Magnus is a strong economic driver in the city and the region, and to see the city leaning in to ‘Yeah we’re going to upgrade  that part of the city as well, to me is incredible. It’s a really exciting time to be in Thunder Bay.”

Much of the work is based around the interior function of the building, however there is also some foundation work, fixing the roof and repairs to the old schoolhouse section of the theatre, which dates back to the 1800s.



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