BSP pays debt to municipality


By Barb McKay

The Bluewater Summer Playhouse has paid its debt to the Municipality of Kincardine.

Marilyn Clarke and Jennifer Webb attended last Wednesday’s Kincardine council meeting to personally hand over a cheque for $15,000 to Mayor Anne Eadie.

“We began a membership campaign, asking that 150 people donate $100 in order to address our rent arrears,” Clarke said. “Not only did we reach our target but we surpassed it. We were overwhelmed with people’s generosity and gratified to know that our theatre is important to our community. This was truly an affirmation that people appreciate and want live theatre in their community.”

In May, the Bluewater Summer Playhouse (BSP) had approached council to ask for loan forgiveness for $10,000 of the $15,000 that was owed in rent arrears at the Kincardine Centre for the Arts. The board argued that the theatre company is an economic driver in the municipality because theatre patrons stay in Kincardine hotels, eat in local restaurants and shop downtown when they visit. The cost to operate the theatre is approximately $160,000 annually and ticket sales do not come close to covering the cost.

Council refused to forgive the loan amount and instead asked the theatre company to arrange a five-year repayment plan.

With the debt erased, Clarke said the BSP has begun planning for its 25th season. To boost its finances she said the company has raised its ticket prices and will hold another membership drive. Clarke said there will be some fantastic productions in the line-up this year to commemorate the BSP’s milestone anniversary, beginning with a comedy – The Full Mounty – directed by BSP artistic director Ralph Small.

“We have Leisa Way returning for a country-themed show and are planning to bring Abbamania to the stage,” Clarke said. “A few other musicals and plays will fill out our summer season. We hope that we will attract many newcomers to our theatre, as well as our loyal regular theatre patrons.”