Centre displays brand new gown for year-long ball

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Jesse Inman, CEO of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, stands on the maonstage with the sweeping view of the renovated theatre.

$7 million is renovations to main theatre results in 21st century modern upgrades

“There’s not a bad seat in the house” is a catchphrase that all venues crave to own. It was a common description this week during a preview tour of the newly renovated main theatre in the Confederation Centre. The 50-year-old facility’s centerpiece was in obvious need of an upgrade and approximately $7 million was spent on the renovations for phase one - balcony and theatre.

There was a certain “wow factor” as guests saw the renovated theatre for the first time. There is a whole new look and feel. The embedded LED technology lighting on the walls, expanded balcony, lighting, sound and catwalks all give the impression you are entering a brand new facility with all the latest 21st century technology designed to enhance patron viewing and comfort.

The biggest improvement is the installation of two new aisles in the centre of the orchestra section. Everyone attending a performance in the theatre has endured the constant disruption of people trying to enter and leave their seats. It meant a double inconvenience - climbing over endless seats while patrons were constantly forced to get up and down to allow guests in and out. There is a loss of orchestra seating but most of those were moved up to the expanded balcony.

The new theatre is an attraction onto itself and action on stage may have to take a back seat for a while as patrons slip into the 1,110 bigger and more comfortable chairs. After a four-month closure, the opening countdown continues for the record-setting 50th season of Anne of Green Gables. With all the activities and special events planned during this 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, timing couldn’t have been better for the Centre to display its new gown for the 2014 year-long sesquicentennial ball.

Some weekend thoughts

. . . Hold the boat. Love Our Lobster is underway and the industry is hoping the campaign can be as successful as the month-long Burger Love in April. Burger Love provided a tremendous boost for the Island beef industry and all stakeholders are hoping that Love Our Lobster will generate additional similar interest among Islanders in tasting lobster during the spring fishery. The campaign hopes to create a strong local demand and support better prices for our fishermen. The campaign has attracted 26 retail outlets across the province to promote the sale of Island lobster. Islanders and visitors are encouraged to support local fishermen and retailers.

… And there certainly appeared to be a large number of Montreal Canadiens jerseys being paraded around P.E.I. on Friday. There is nothing like a Habs win in the opening game of a Boston-Montreal playoff series to get long-dormant sweaters out of the closet. Hab fans are demanding that goalie Carey Price should have his face inscribed on the nation’s currency and the motto “In Carey We Trust” etched prominently on all coinage. There is no question that Price, who backstopped Canada to Olympic gold in Sochi, stole the win from the Bruins who widely outshot and outplayed the Canadiens.

. . . Bonshaw section of the Trans-Canada Highway, voted as P.E.I.’s worst road, likely won because of lingering anti-Plan B sentiment more than because of actual road conditions. It might be P.E.I.’s worst main road because it’s like a washboard. There are plenty of Island secondary roads with gaping potholes and broken pavement which are much more dangerous. The CAA campaign to select Atlantic Canada’s Worst Roads attracted nearly 5,300 votes. The winner (or loser) was Gillis Point East Road in N.S. Bonshaw was 9th overall and P.E.I.’s only entry in the top 10.

Organizations: Confederation Centre, Montreal Canadiens, Bruins Trans-Canada Highway CAA

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland, Green Gables Charlottetown Atlantic Canada Boston Montreal Carey Sochi Gillis Point East Road

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