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e-dition - August 29, 2007

Treasury Board President Vic Toews today announced funding of more than $450,000 to The University of Winnipeg’s CanWest Centre for Theatre and Film.
(Photo: Penka Thompson)

The Canadian Government Sets the Stage for Cultural Coup

By Naniece Ibrahim

The University of Winnipeg has set the stage for the state-of-the-art CanWest Centre for Theatre and Film and has now received additional financial help to make it a reality.

The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament (Provencher), today announced funding for up to $473,600 for the University’s theatre building. Minister Toews made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women.

This funding will go towards the renovation of two rehearsal rooms, two large acting studios as well as the acquisition of specialized sound, lighting and audio-visual equipment.

Commitment to students, local arts community
“The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film has demonstrated its commitment not only to its students, but also to the local arts community, making its facilities available to the broader community,” said Minister Oda.

Toews, who attended UWinnipeg and took acting classes at the University, finds investing in theatre resonates on many levels.

“I think it’s an investment,” Toews said. “It’s an excellent way to get young people involved. Theatre doesn’t only provide entertainment, it builds certain skills, it builds discipline for students and it provides organizational skills that are transferable in many other areas that society needs.”

State-of-the-Art Performance & Rehearsal Space
In Dec. 2006, Leonard Asper, President and CEO of CanWest Global Communication Corp., announced a corporate gift of $3 million to The University of Winnipeg to establish the CanWest Centre for Theatre & Film. This $5.5-million project will provide the needed specialized equipment and modern facilities and will feature state-of-the-art performance, production and teaching facilities for theatre and film students.

As well, it will include a 120- to 150-seat theatre, and labs and studios dedicated to lighting, sound and recording, and film and media production. The Centre will also house specially designed spaces for rehearsals, teaching, costume, make-up and prop development and serve as a welcome addition to Winnipeg’s cultural landscape.

Bruce Leslie, CanWest VP of Community and Public Relations, described the gift as an investment in the future of what is “arguably the largest industrial sector in the world, entertainment. This industry incorporates film, theatre, music, television and broadcasting. And there is no better investment that our own community, our neighbourhood.”

Open to the Community
Located in the heart of the downtown, this University theatre centre will also be used by the community at large.

UWinnipeg Department of Theatre & Film Chair Doug Arrell thanked the federal government Department of Canadian Heritage for its important contribution to UWinnipeg's theatre building and the arts community. (Photo: Penka Thompson)

“In a single year, we rent our rehearsal spaces about 700 times to outside groups,” says Doug Arrell, Chair, Theatre & Film Department at UWinnipeg. “This new facility will benefit the local theatre groups as well.

“It will also be a wonderful thing for the university to have a performance space on campus,” Arrell continued. “Allowing a venue for more activities, students will have access to more cultural events and the local community will have access bringing more people to the campus.”

Community Importance
UWinnipeg President and Vice Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy expressed the community importance and potential in this Centre.

“It provides a brand new facility for rehearsals, and productions. It provides training in the various forms of community theatre, Red Roots is an aboriginal theatre that already is associated, and there other smaller community theatres. It is also a place where we can do interesting work in schools and in other areas.”

UWinnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy thanked the federal government for their contribution to the University’s Theatre Centre. (Photo: Penka Thompson)

UWinnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film is one of the largest and renowned programs in Canada and offers a full program of undergraduate and pre-professional training for theatre and film artists and practitioners. To enroll in the program or others that UWinnipeg offers go to www.uwinnipeg.ca.

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