By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Anyone driving past the future home of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre can see the $11 million facility has rapidly taken shape since the groundbreaking on May 7 of this year. But what residents may not know is the progress being made to fill it with events and activities once the ribbon is cut next June.
Facility manager Laurie Stalker made a presentation to Morinville Town Council Tuesday night bringing council up to speed on what the next seven months will entail. Stalker said the facility would be completely closed in by the end of the month, allowing crews to work through the winter on the interior of the facility. It is anticipated substantial completion will be achieved by Mar. 31 of 2011, allowing Morinville’s community Services Department to move from the second floor of Germain Plaza to the Community Cultural Centre.
Stalker said the opening ceremonies are slated for June 11 and that a performance series, likely to be called the Centennial Series in honour of Morinville’s 100th anniversary, are set to take place from September of 2011 until June of 2012.
Stalker said the entire facility could be boiled down to three key words – alive, sustainable and ours. Once opened, Stalker said the Community Cultural Centre will be alive with activities currently offered by the Town of Morinville and its Community Services Department, but also programming initiatives from the community at large. Stalker said partnerships are currently underway with Morinville’s schools to make the facility available for Christmas concerts and other programming. It is hoped a school may be able to obtain grant funding to host an artist in residency program.
While local perfomers are certain to grace the centre’s stage, Stalker said the facility is looking to book a number of local, regional and touring artists and performing arts groups that will attract both local and regional audiences to Morinville. Stalker said she recently attended a gathering in Red Deer where 100 acts were showcased over a four-day period to show what travelling groups were available to facilities.
Whether or not some of those acts will make their way to Morinville’s newest stage in 2011 remains to be seen, but Stalker believes the key to the vibrancy and sustainability of the new facility is ensuring it is booked for a variety of activities and functions, including public performances and private functions.
“This is an area that will be a major focus of our marketing component,” she said, adding the facility already has seven or eight weddings booked for next year.
Stalker said she is looking beyond ticket sales and rental revenues to grants and corporate sponsorship as a means to help ensure the facility is sustainable.
But regardless of whose name may one day be connected with the facility, Stalker said it is key that Morinville residents consider the Community Cultural Centre to be theirs. The goal is to have all residents take ownership of the facility through active involvement as audience, participants, volunteers or customers.
Council is scheduled to have an interior tour of the Morinville Community cultural Centre Monday to examine the progress.