One last goodbye to Tantramar Theatre

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Bette Douglas of the Tantramar Theatre Society removes the theatre's name from the door of the Dominion Public Building on Victoria Street East yesterday. The theatre was told to vacate the premises so the town can move its offices and council chambers into the building.

AMHERST - After 15 years of building up a relationship between structure and co-founder, Bette Douglas said a final fond farewell to the Tantramar Theatre on Thursday morning.

The building will now be used to house the town hall.

"When we got this building 15 years ago, we were just delighted. We developed an amazing business that's profitable in the cultural centre of downtown," said Douglas. "When I walk around and see the empty rooms, it's hard to believe it. It's been our home for 15 years."

Though Douglas said it's been hard saying goodbye to all the memories that have been made in the building over the years, she has prepared herself to ease the pain of that final farewell.

"I've been working myself up (to closing the doors one last time) and I think it's been eased by the fact that, for the last month, I've been dismantling 15 years of theatre equipment," said Douglas. "That has lessened the blow, so it's not like we were here one day and gone the next."

Douglas said she is ready for whatever changes will come her way now that she is moving the theatre to a new location.

Since it has been made pubic town hall will be moving to the theatre's old location, there have been some residents upset they were not consulted before the decision is made.

There have been petitions circulated asking whether or not town hall should be moved from its present location.

"This petition is not going to bring us back to our old building but really raises awareness that the public didn't get their 'vox populi,'" Douglas added.

The residents of Amherst, however, are not as thrilled by the change.

"I think they should leave the theatre where it's at," said Sabrina MacKenzie. "It's been there so long now and that's where everyone knows to go and watch the plays. It's a comfortable place. I don't think it's right - town hall is fine right where it's at."

Comments on a recently published story on cumberlandnewsnow.com were mixed.

"Enough already. This theatre does itself no favours by maintaining this sense of entitlement," said 'Rob' on Town Receives Theatre Petition. "Your lease is up. The landlord decided not to extend it. Be a good tenant and vacate the premises in a timely manner and find a new home."

Douglas has not said where the theatre will be moving but mentioned they have been considering a few locations.

"We will go on somewhere and our summer program for youth will continue," said Douglas. "My work through the justice system with the local youth will also go on. It's part of what I do that's very dear to me."

Organizations: Tantramar Theatre, Town Receives Theatre Petition

Geographic location: AMHERST

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  • Another Amherstonian
    June 01, 2012 - 09:44

    Just curious - how much was the Tantramar Theatre group paying for rent? I understand the Dominion Building changed hands a few times, so is their rent an "in-kind" donation? Or were they paying thousands per month to rent an Amherst land mark? I'm guessing they would be paying the utilities as well, right? There is a way to look at this in a positive light - they may be able to find a less expensive home. Or, if not, why complain when you got the space for nearly free for all these years?

  • Kayla
    June 01, 2012 - 09:23

    Bette, You are an amazing individual ! You inspired me in many ways and changed my life when i was in my youth :) Keep up the good work with the youth programs. You change lives everyday!