PARRSBORO - Just six months after moving into its new home, Ship's Company Theatre has been forced to move temporarily after a January oil spill caused thousands of dollars in damage.
"It was really quite a mess, but it's being cleaned up and we'll be ready to go when the new season opens," Ship's Company Theatre's new artistic director Matthew Tiffin said. "I was really quite a disaster, but the insurance company has been great and the damage is being repaired and the oil cleaned up."
Tiffin had only been on the job for two weeks on Jan. 11 when he walked into the theatre on a Monday morning only to face a strong smell of oil. As he went further into the building he saw oil pouring through the ceiling of the third floor from what looked to be a failed clamp coming out of the boiler.
"It sounded like a waterfall. I went up into the office and the whole ceiling was pouring oil. It was pretty bad," he said. "It pooled on the floor and leaked through the ceiling below as well."
Tiffin said the boilers on the third floor have been removed along with walls and carpeting and flooring throughout the building. The repairs have also forced the theatre's administrative office to move to Main Street across from the CIBC.
Brad Skinner, manager of the Environment Department's district office in Amherst, said as much as 200 litres was spilled in the mishap. He said Ship's Company quickly hired a consultant to have the contaminated soil removed and the building fixed.
"All the contaminated soil has been removed and taken to the landfill for proper disposal. There's still some work on the structure to be done, the oil affected some of the wood on the building," Skinner said.
While disappointed with the spill, Tiffin said it had a silver lining in that it occurred in January and not in the spring when operations would be gearing up for the summer theatre season.
"In the end it may be positive because it will allow us to replace the floor and do a number of little jobs that needed to be done anyway. It may also allow us to better insulate the place," Tiffin said. "Something good may come out of this."
Ship's Company Theatre has operated out of Parrsboro since 1984 using the former M.V. Kipawo as its home. A new theatre was built around the ship in 2004.