History of CentreStage
The idea of having a quality, year-round community theatre was the dream of Allen Hume, Susan Munro, Jerry Morine, Chloris Morine, Gertrude Bishop, Arlo Moen, and Diana Bishop. From 1984 to 1998 this group, along with many, many volunteers produced and presented a total of 112 plays, all but the first six of them at the Theatre in Centre Square, Kentville. When they decided to take a break, they turned the company over to another talented and enthusiastic group of individuals who, along with several others and countless volunteers, have worked tirelessly to provide the Valley with a first-rate community theatre. It was under the direction of this new group that many of the changes that have come about since 1998 have occurred.
Since its inception, CentreStage has provided the Valley with not only good theatre but also with an outlet for the creative talents of it citizens. As a result, the theatre has garnered a large and dedicated following among the members of the theatre-going public. This has in turn inspired and energized those charged with the task of “running” the theatre to greater efforts to improve upon this wonderful gift. It was for this reason that those in a leadership role applied for and were granted status as a Society as defined under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia. By doing so, the Theatre looked to expanding the involvement of the theatre-going public in the actual running of the theatre. It also gave the theatre the opportunity to add an educational element to its mandate; consequently, workshop for adults and children have become part of the fabric of the theatre.
Times have not always been easy for CentreStage. Running a community theatre strictly on what is taken in at the box office and on donations from generous private citizens is no easy task. There were times when month to month existence was all that could be managed—but manage they did. Times are somewhat better today, but our continued existence still depends upon ticket sales, advertisement, membership fees, and donations by generous patrons. The recent move from the Centre Square location in Kentville to the River Street location in Kentville was not accomplished without incurring great expense. Thankfully, “sweat equity” helped to keep the cost from soaring to unmanageable levels and the donations from the Town of Kentville, the Kentville Rotary Club, the Government of Nova Scotia, numerous patrons, and generous repayable loans from some Board members have allowed us to meet our obligations thus far. Those who have visited the new site have been favorably impressed and feel that the move has added greatly to the theatre-going experience. To aid in our fund-raising efforts, the Society applied for and was granted status as a not-for-profit organization by the Government of Canada. This, of course, allows us to issue tax receipts for any donations given to the theatre that meet the Revenue Canada guidelines.
CentreStage now produces eight different plays a year, each of them running for six consecutive weekends on Friday and Saturday evenings. During the run of each show, provision has been made for several matinee performances . The plays are a mix of comedies, mystery thrillers, musicals and warmhearted dramas. When one play is in production, the one following it is in rehearsal. The Society also offers theatre camps for children which usually results in a production that is presented to the general public.
While some regular cast members have professional experience in theatre, television, and film, their involvement with CentreStage is strictly on a volunteer basis and is done for the love of theatre. There are no paid employees, which makes it truly amazing that CentreStage Theatre is now in its 34th year of existence and has produced as of March 2017, 280 plays/musicals, involving a total of over 350 different actors/ actresses/ singers/ technicians in the Valley.