© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Jessie Inman, chief executive officer of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, sits in one of the original theatre seats in the Homburg Theatre. The theatre is under going renovations and new seats will be installed. The old ones will be given away.
Public invited to pick up historic red theatre seats as centre undergoes renovations
These red seats have felt the weight of many theatregoers.
Since the Confederation Centre of the Arts opened in 1964, people have sat on the same seats taking in everything from a stand-up comic’s show to enjoying a performance by the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra.
For Anne of Green Gables: The Musical alone, some 2.4 million bottoms have nestled into the seats for roughly 3,000 performances.
“That’s a lot of wear,’’ points out Fraser McCallum, communications manager with the Confederation Centre. Still, the seats have been well cared for over the years, getting reupholstered when needed.
People can continue to plop comfortably on the seats, but now they can do so in the comfort of their own home. That is because the Confederation Centre of the Arts is installing brand new seating in the Homburg Theatre from January through April.
So naturally, the old seats must go.
The balcony seats were already replaced last year. They were snatched up by the Souris Show Hall.
Now, 920 seats are being taken out of the first level of the Homburg Theatre to make room for “bigger, more comfy seats’’ that will retain the “iconic red colour.’’
McCallum says halls and theatres across P.E.I. have already claimed hundreds of the seats. A venue in Riverview, N.B., has also staked a claim to some.
He says plenty of seats are still left for Islanders that may be looking to bring home a piece of history.
“These are the original seats,’’ says McCallum. “It’s Canadian history.’’
The seats date back to when the Confederation Centre opened almost half a century ago.
The seats are being offered at no charge (though donations are welcome) as a special memento for Islanders to take home. The old seats will be available for pick-up from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the centre’s Richmond Street loading dock.
Contact Joy Gallant at 628-6118 or firstname.lastname@example.org noting the quantity of seats and the time of your pick-up on a first-come, first-served basis.
The seats are as is/where is and must be picked up in sets of three, allowing a two-seat set, each with two arms, notes McCallum.
The base will likely need to be adapted, he adds.
Visit www.confederationcentre.com/seats for a photo sample.
“You must provide your own transportation and person power for transport out of the building,’’ adds McCallum. “A truck is recommended.’’
The Homburg Theatre will be closed from January through late April for this major renovation. The rest of the centre will remain open (Art Gallery, Mavor’s, Showcase, arts education, dance, etc.) and shows will continue at The Mack and Studio 1.