Not long after Yorkton Regional High School students and teachers left for their summer break in the spring of 2018, Good Spirit School Division staff began removing the 50-year-old seats from the iconic Anne Portnuff Theatre.
The next step was mitigation of asbestos in the theatre, followed by installation of the new seats by Logan Stevens Construction. The company was winning bidder for the project, chosen by the board of the Good Spirit School Division.
The Anne Portnuff Theatre hosted the Tim Tamashiro concert, part of Stars for Saskatchewan, on Nov. 4, the first event in the facility. The plaques on the seats recognizing donors will be installed in the new year.
The project raised enough money for seats, curtains and a new sound system. Good Spirit School Division provided carpet and asbestos abatement. An anonymous donor came forward and took care of both stage and house lights.
A grand opening will be held once plaques are installed, so all donors and supporters can be recognized. Individual seat sponsors will receive name plates on the backs of seats. Large donors will be featured on a recognition plaque near the theatre entrance.
"We are very grateful to the Co-op Community Spaces Program, The Community Initiatives Fund’s Community Spaces & Places program, The Richardson Foundation as well as corporate and individual donors who helped us reach our $300,000 fundraising goal,” Yorkton Arts Council executive director Tonia Vermette said.
“We are excited to have reached this goal in such a short period of time. We began the project in September of 2016.”
The Arts Council has led a consortium of 11 community groups, The Anne Portnuff Revitalization Committee, which has supported and participated in the fundraising project.
The Good Spirit School Division helped launch the revitalization effort with $54,000 raised by a per-seat levy on Portnuff Theatre performances leading up to the actual revitalization campaign.
The participating community groups and organizations were:
The Anne Portnuff Theatre, named in honour of a longtime school board member whose dedication to the arts led to the inclusion of a theatre when the Yorkton Regional High School was built in 1967, has been a major contributor to the cultural, educational and artistic growth of our community.
Over the past 50 years, the seats of the theatre have been filled with people taking part in and enjoying school and community musicals, plays, band concerts, dance recitals and competitions, film presentations, graduations, professional artistic events, rallies, and much more.
Those were still the original seats installed in the theatre in 1967, and 50 years later it was high time to replace them.
We have raised the funds needed to replace the 724 seats in the theatre. Many individual contributors, as well as corporate supporters, have made this possible.
But there was more to be done. We were also able to raise enough money to replace the curtains, replace the lighting system with new efficient LED lights, and to replace the sound system.
We greatly appreciate the valuable support of the following, and the many individuals, businesses and organizations who supported this project.
Recognition of donors to the Anne Portnuff Theatre revitalization project has been completed.
A large plaque at the theatre entrance recognizes the major donors and the groups which assisted with the project. In addition, small plaques have been attached to seats in the theatre marking those who "purchased" a seat in the refurbishing program.
The signage is the final step of the project that began with a year of planning, two years of fundraising, and then the installation of new seat and lighting and sound upgrades.
The Anne Portnuff Theatre at the Yorkton Regional High School is a much-used facility with dance groups, Stars for Saskatchewan concerts and the Community Band among regular users. After 50 years of use and seats wearing out, it became obvious upgrades were needed.