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Anne will remain on Confederation Centre main stage: New board chairman

Bob Sear has been on the job as chairman of the Confederation Centre of the Arts for about a month. He replaced Wayne Hambly, who retired following 25 years in the role. Sear said the centre isn’t merely a national memorial but a voice for Canadians past, present and future.
Bob Sear has been on the job as chairman of the Confederation Centre of the Arts for about a month. He replaced Wayne Hambly, who retired following 25 years in the role. Sear said the centre isn’t merely a national memorial but a voice for Canadians past, present and future. - Dave Stewart

Bob Sear, new board chairman of Confederation Centre of the Arts, says the long-running musical continues to be important player for national memorial

There may be lots of change at the top, but there doesn’t seem to be much changing behind the curtain.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts announced a new CEO, Steve Bellamy, and a new chairman, Bob Sear, in August.

While Bellamy doesn’t officially begin his role until Oct.1, Sear has been on the job for about a month.

And he wasn’t talking about any wholesale changes when The Guardian sat down for a chat on Tuesday.

The centre will announce its 2019 Charlottetown Festival lineup on Sept. 20, but Sear said “Anne of Green Gables-The Musical’’ will return. There is no desire to mess with history.

“The numbers are good for ‘Anne’,’’ Sear said. “The show has been revitalized in the last two years with the set up going back to maybe more of the early-day ‘Anne’. The stage enhancements have been great.’’

The centre’s longest-running musical also continues to set records.

“I think it’s two or three weeks ago the matinee performance of ‘Anne’ was the highest grossing ‘Anne’ show ever since the centre opened, so that’s good news.’’

Sear realizes there are people out there who wonder how long “Anne’’ can run, but it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. He points out the musical continues to draw good numbers, and it’s a great tourism draw.

Much of the centre’s focus is on financial stability and much of that stability comes through ticket sales to its mainstage productions. Not all of the second shows have been successful, but the recent run has been a good one.

“The centre has struggled from time to time, but recent history has been great. The last two years, 2016 and 2017, “Mamma Mia!’’ . . . was a big financial success for the centre and last year with “Million Dollar Quartet’’ was a big financial success.’’

Sear wouldn’t comment on how “Jesus Christ Superstar’’ has drawn this season.

“We don’t really have the numbers on that and don’t like to make any formal statements while the show is still running, and it will be running until Sept. 22. We’ll keep that one under our hat until the show is over.’’

Sear was also non-committal when asked about the future of the space currently occupied by the Confederation Centre Public Library. There have been rumours that the library, which rents space from the centre, would eventually move elsewhere in Charlottetown. But Sear said nothing is imminent there.

“If the library was to move we would really see some real benefit . . . to have that space and enhance our own needs,’’ he said, noting that it would provide some valuable rehearsal space for the centre’s productions.

Sear added that the centre wants to continue playing a vital role in that national dialogue about diverse voices and what it means to be Canadian.

He said the centre doesn’t just want to exist as a national memorial bit inspire Canadians to consider the country’s past, present and future through theatre, visual arts and interactive experiences.


About Bob Sear

- Outgoing chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation

- Outgoing board member at Charlottetown Airport Authority

- Sits on Maritime Electric board

- Member of engineering firm Richardson and Associates 1993 Ltd.

- Joined Confederation Centre of the Arts’ board in 2013


Twitter.com/DveStewart

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