THE VILLAGE PLAYHOUSEA brief history on the occasion of the 10th anniversary year.
In June, 1993, The Algonquin Arts Council held a public planning meeting with members of that Board, members of community arts groups and the community at large for the purpose of discussing the development of a permanent performing venue in the Village of Bancroft. From this and subsequent meetings, came the idea to transform the ‘Christian Education Centre,’ a local heritage building owned by St. Paul’s United Church and under-used at the time, into such a performing venue.
With the support of St. Paul’s and a wide array of community partnerships, funding of more than $200,000.00 was raised through provincial and local support. Provincially, an application was successfully made for JOBSONTARIO funding, while local fundraising included ‘seat sale,’ ‘gala’ events, and a direct-ask donor campaign. The first major benefactor came to be The Bancroft Theatre Guild when that group agreed to the sale of the Bancroft Theatre Guild building on Heritage Trail Way to another community group and directing this money toward the new venue.
Over many months, Playhouse renovation was administered and supervised by volunteers from the community, with the work being carried out by local, professional carpenters working generously at minimal wage.
In May of 1995, a private reception welcoming volunteers and members of St. Paul’s United Church unveiled the result of the renovation project. It was followed a few weeks later by a public event at which time the winner of a ‘name the venue’ contest was announced and “The Village Playhouse” was chosen.
Theatrics Summer Theatre had the honor of presenting the first performances, quickly followed by Bancroft Theatre Guild, North Hastings Community Choir, North Hastings High School Student Theatre and the Performing Arts Committee (now Performing Arts Bancroft). In time, November Theatre, The Merry Micks, Laugh Lines Theatre, and a wide and varied array of professional and local talent came to call the Playhouse ‘home.’
Management of The Village Playhouse, in the early years all volunteer, has now expanded to a part time management and custodial staff. Volunteers continue to serve as members on the management group known as ‘The Village Playhouse Operations Committee’ whose goal remains to have the playhouse pay its own way and yet remain affordable to all. The current POC Executive includes:
- Sharon Rattle - chair
- Rosslyn McCann - secretary
- Jean Ménard - treasurer
. 192 plush theatre seats
. 12 rows, 16 per row
. proscenium opening: 29' 7"
. stage depth: 21', 4' wing space
Computerized Lighting Board with 48 channels, 36 working dimmers, follow spot plus 14 Leko-type lights and 32 Fresnel-type lights plus others.
. front of house-
Yorkville Networks: 2xY115 at 200WPGM, 2xY110 at 100WPGM (rear of house)
. floor monitors-
Yamaha SM12V Monitors, 175W EIA, Crown driven, with stands
. house mixer-
Yorkville AP312), 2x9 band assignable, 63Hz-16kHz; EQ- basic lo/mid/hi, reverb
. mics - 4xSM58 with stands
. direct box - (one)
. 3 public washrooms
. lobby area and box office
. dressing room
one dressing room
with 2 bathrooms
. event booking
call and leave message
for further information: email
In June of 2006, the Playhouse Operations Committee held a special meeting to honour Barry and Betty Lambeck. They have worked tirelessly over the past 14 years to ensure the success of The Bancroft Village Playhouse, dedicating countless hours developing it as Bancroft's centre for on-stage entertainment. Their theatre company, 'Theatrics Summer Theatre' has entertained tens of thousands of theatre-goers for almost one and a half decades.
The Lambecks were presented with a beautiful Arne Roosman painting of 'The Playhouse', specially commissioned for the occasion, to take with them as a reminder of their Bancroft years. As well, the committee has named The Playhouse auditorium 'Lambeck Hall'.
Although Barry and Betty have moved from the community, the honourary plaque placed above the entrance to 'Lambeck Hall' will be a constant visible reminder of the esteem that this community holds for this dedicated couple.
ANNUAL GALA PRESENTATION
Every year the Village Playhouse sponsors a special event to raise funds to augment working capital. This show has in the past featured well-known performers, The Good Brothers, Ashley MacIsaac, Tanglefoot, Robert Pilon, Freddy Vette & the Flames, The Arrogant Worms, My Sweet Patootie, Nancy White and others.
At that time there is opportunity to invest in the artistic community of Bancroft. One such opportunity is ‘The Fabulous Fifty Club’, a group of patrons who have made a tax-deductable contribution to the Village Playhouse in order to encourage the committee to continue its work.