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Fredericton Playhouse Inc. has launched its largest ever community campaign – the Encore! campaign for the new Performing Arts Centre.

The Performing Arts Centre will be built on the corner of King and Regent Streets, with an anticipated opening date of late 2026. Government partners announced in late 2022 that they have committed 90% of the funding needed for this once-in-generation project.

Now, the charitable organization – and Chamber of Commerce member – that manages and develops the Playhouse, is raising funds from the community to contribute their share and bring the new venue to life.

Chair of the Board of Directors of Fredericton Playhouse Inc., Craig Leonard, says that this is “an exciting milestone for the organization, as we’ve been working on this project for over ten years. We feel strongly that it is our responsibility to our community to offer access to proper infrastructure as a key part of our mandate to offer meaningful live performance experiences. In order to do that, given the reality of the of the Playhouse today, we’ve been working with our partners at the City of Fredericton to bring a new venue to life. With design in place, government contributions in hand, and the construction schedule set, our organization is now laser-focused on raising the remaining funding needed to get us over the line.”

Leonard announced that the goal of the Encore! campaign is $10 million, with funds going toward both construction costs as well as an expansion of the community access programs that the Playhouse provides so that all members of the community can access live performances.

Tim Yerxa, Executive Director of Fredericton Playhouse Inc., also made an announcement that many early gifts from community members have already come into the campaign.

“There has already been 100% participation from our Board of Directors and staff, and our sizeable volunteer group at the Playhouse has given to this campaign at unprecedented levels. Many in our community have also stepped forward with early leadership gifts that are setting us up for a successful campaign. It’s heartwarming to see this kind of support for an important community arts and culture project like this.”

One of those early lead gifts was announced at a reception at Government House on Oct. 5. The J.T. Clark Family Foundation Inc. has made a $1 million gift to Fredericton Playhouse Inc.’s Encore! campaign for the new Performing Arts Centre.

Philanthropist, businessman and long-time community-builder John T. Clark said, “I very much believe in the value that the new Performing Arts Centre will bring to Fredericton and the surrounding region for generations to come. I feel strongly that community members should play a role in building a better community for now and for the future.”

To recognize the special gift, the second-floor theatre in the Performing Arts Centre will be named the Théâtre Wilma Clark Theatre, in honour of Mr. Clark’s late wife, who was a singer and loved music and live performance.

Yerxa says that one of the important goals of the Encore! campaign is to have the whole community involved in the legacy project. “This is a space that will be built for the community, by the community. Every gift is important, and we will be honouring each gift by inscribing the donor’s name, or the name of their choosing, within the building in some way.”

You can learn more and support the Encore! campaign on the Performing Arts Centre website.

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