Sudbury's $20K grant will provide 'breathing room' for struggling Theatre Cambrian

It may not have been the funding they were looking for, but Theatre Cambrian is still getting a hand from Sudbury city council.

New theatre president says group's financial woes now present opportunity for stronger partnerships with city

Members of Theatre Cambrian perform in the Wizard of Oz in October 2017. The Sudbury theatre company's location at Eyre Street building is currently up for sale. (Theatre Cambrian/Facebook)

It may not have been the funding they were looking for, but Theatre Cambrian is still getting a hand from Sudbury city council.

On Tuesday, city council declined Theatre Cambrian's request for $150,000 to keep it afloat, but offered to give the community theatre group a one-time $20,000 boost.

The money will be used to cover space rental at the Sudbury Theatre Centre, which recently received its own bailout of $200,000.

In April, the city gave another long-standing arts group, the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, a grant of $52,000.

But despite some of the city's arts groups' financial woes, Derek Young, Theatre Cambrian's new president, said that the grant provides a little breathing room for the company, as well as demonstrating to the city that the arts group is on steady ground.

"[The $20,000] allows us to move forward as an organization, and to not only talk about the good things that we're doing but to actually prove to the city that we are doing these things and that we can and will be sustainable," Young said.

Theatre Cambrian's manager of business development, Shawn Bailey, and president, Derek Young, speak at a press conference announcing the prospective sale of the community theatre group's current building at 40 Eyre Street. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

Young said that the group intends to sells their Eyre Street property, a place they've operated out of for the past decade, a move that will allow them to team up with the STC and concentrate on theatre programming.

"In general, [the city] wants to see a sustainable sector," Young said. "I think this is the real good experiment to show how a community theatre and professional company can work together."

In June, Chris Nash, then the organization's president, resigned citing her concerns about the long-term financial viability of Theatre Cambrian.

But Young said the group remains undaunted, and throughout the financial woes and Nash's departure, continues to focus on the positive. 

"Throughout this process the theatre has become more resilient, and made better choices as it relates to our operation and programming," he said.

Theatre Cambrian is expected to provide the city with a debt recovery plan and updated business and strategic plans by the end of the year.

With files from Robin De Angelis

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