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Performing Arts Centre Task Force

On March 22, 2021, Barrie City Council approved a motion that included the establishment of a Performing Arts Centre Task Force.

The decision to close Georgian Theatre and not to proceed with renovating Fisher Auditorium has highlighted the urgent need for a large performing arts facility in Barrie. The Performing Arts Centre Task Force is mandated to report to General Committee by the end of 2021 with a plan to construct a modern performing arts facility in the city core to replace Georgian Theatre and Fisher Auditorium.

The mission/purpose of the PAC Task Force is to serve as a working group to advance the planning required to construct a modern performing art facility in the city downtown core to replace the Georgian Theater and Fisher Auditorium.

The outcome of the Task Force’s work will be the development of a complete project plan, including appropriate key milestones, necessary to execute it including validation of the site location and key needs for the centre necessary to inform its design; establishing a budget, and overall fundraising targets. It is anticipated that the mission/purpose will be fulfilled by the end of 2021 and that members will remain on the Task Force until that time.

Performing Arts Centre (PAC) Task Force Members

The task force has been organized comprised of members representing a variety of stakeholders in the arts and culture sector and includes representation from industry members, sector champions and influencers. Other organizations/stakeholders may be brought in on an ad-hoc basis as advisory stakeholder partners.

In addition to Councillor J. Harris, Councillor Thomson and Councillor Riepma, the following list of people have graciously agreed to volunteer their time and expertise to be regular members of the PAC Task Force.

  • Councillor Jim Harris (Chair)
  • Councillor Robert Thomson
  • Councillor Clare Riepma
  • Angela Baldwin
  • Scott Boyer
  • Chris Ferando
  • Marshall Green
  • Tania Gregoire
  • Greg Groen
  • Wayne Hay
  • Graham Knight
  • Josephine Martensson-Hemsted
  • Julie Underhill

Background

The 900+ seat W.A. Fisher Auditorium was located within the former Barrie Central Collegiate, the oldest school in Simcoe County, founded in 1843. The school was closed at the end of the 2016/2017 academic year, with the auditorium closing following its final concert on May 11, 2016.

From 2017 to 2020, research to develop a business case for a Performing Arts Centre solidified the need through user and public consultations and provided preliminary design concepts based on retaining the foundation of the original Fisher Auditorium. It has since been determined that demolishing the existing Fisher Auditorium will allow for the best use of the site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Barrie need a Performing Arts Centre?

The vision for a theatre/performing arts centre within the downtown has been longstanding. The City’s 2006 Cultural Master Plan document recommends the downtown as a logical, creative and natural home for the arts. A performing arts centre will help develop the arts & culture sector, contribute to tourism and build a complete community. It is a key component of building a creative corridor in the downtown, with a theatre/performing art centre as a western anchor, the Five Points Theatre and Meridian Place in between, and the MacLaren Art Centre on the eastern end of downtown.

Where is the project going to take place?

The proposed site is the former Fisher Auditorium site at 125 Dunlop Street West.

Why couldn’t the existing Fisher Auditorium be used for a new performing arts centre?

It was identified that incorporating the existing structure into a new performing arts centre would not allow for an effective use of space that would meet the community’s needs.

What are the project costs?

The preliminary costs will be determined once the scope of work has been completed.

Who will complete the facility design/construction?

The design and construction of the facility will be tendered through the City’s procurement process.

Who will operate the facility?

The City of Barrie will own and operate the facility.

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