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With the help of municipal leaders, officials with Cambrian Players kicked off their "Spotlight of Inclusivity" in February (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Campaign underway for Cambrian Players

By Adam Riley Feb 29, 2024 | 10:00 AM

A long running Thunder Bay theatre company is embarking on an endeavor to bring its performance space into the 21st century.

Cambrian Players is seeking to raise $150,000 to install an accessible elevator and washrooms at its Spring Street location, which it acquired in 2017.

For Fundraising Director Ken Horton this initiative is personal.

“I’ve had family members who, accessibility limitations kept them from being able to enjoy everything in life, including the arts, and I have close friends who are limited.”

Cambrian Players Fundraising Director Ken Horton provides details on the renovations planned for the theatre (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Horton adds this has also prevented Cambrian, which was established in 1949, from having those with mobility issues from joining the theatre troupe for its productions.

Currently the only way for patrons and performers to enter the theatre requires them to climb a set of stairs, with the only way to access the washrooms is down a narrow staircase to the side of the stage.

“Getting into the building and being able to have the dignity of using the building and the facilities is held back from them, just by nature of how it was built back in the day.”

Cambrian Players Theatre located at 818 Spring Street (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Horton adds the ability to experience and possibly be transformed by live theatre is an amazing experience and wants as many residents and visitors to the city to experience that.

From an aesthetic perspective the elevator would come off of the side of the building and remove access to the driveway at the side of the building, while the accessible washroom would replace a storage space near the entrance to the theatre, and the current washrooms in the basement will remain.

The campaign and its $150,000 goal will be an ongoing one, as once enough money is raised to begin one of the two elements of the project, construction would begin.

“We are hoping to start in the fall this year, its greatly dependent on the fundraising so the more we can get, and our winters of course, we would love to see it coming to and opening some of it during the 75th year.”

Several thousand dollars has already been raised within the first couple of weeks of the campaign and Horton says in addition to donations, Cambrian will also be pursuing various grants to help raise the funds.

Designs show the changes that will make the Cambrian Theatre more accessible in the coming years (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)