Arts & EventsThousands to Attend Centrepointe Theatres’ Weekend Anniversary Celebrations

Thousands to Attend Centrepointe Theatres’ Weekend Anniversary Celebrations

Thousands to Attend Centrepointe Theatres’ Weekend Anniversary Celebrations


The doors to Ben Franklin Place and Centrepointe Theatres will be open wide this weekend. More than 4,000 people are expected to visit the municipal complex during the next two days as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

On May 3, 1988, famed comedian and actor Rich Little gave the inaugural performance on the Centrepointe Theatre stage. Now, a quarter of a century later, another Canadian comic icon, Rick Mercer, will help commemorate 25 years of entertaining audiences.

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“It is truly remarkable that the Council of the day decided to make Ben Franklin Place a people place and had the foresight to include a theatre as part of this vision,” says Debbie Hill, manager of cultural services for the City of Ottawa. “The experience that this theatre has provided to so many has been so rich.”

More than 80,000 people attend over 209 performances and 109 events at Centrepointe Theatres every year. It is a place where people can enjoy talent from around the globe and around the corner. Local amateur groups such as the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, Suzart and Les Petits Ballets have sustained the theatre with hundreds of performances since its opening. Big-name acts have also graced the 954-seat mainstage, including The Kids in the Hall, Sarah McLachlan, Jeff Healey, Lyle Lovett, Barenaked Ladies, Russell Peters and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

In December 2011, the ribbon was cut on a 199-seat, black-box studio that provides an intimate viewing experience to patrons and much-needed rehearsal space for the local community. Today, the entire facility is rented by a wide variety of clientele and is a place where people can find everything from large touring acts to graduation ceremonies.

The team at Centrepointe Theatres also programs its own season entitled Centrepointe Theatres Presents. Announced earlier this week, the line-up this season features more comedy, music and variety than ever before, as well as a long list of shows to choose from and interactive events for the whole family. Tickets are on sale now.

“Our audiences have been extremely loyal and we wanted to make sure to give them exactly what they have been asking for,” says Allan Sansom, artistic producer and manager of Centrepointe Theatres. “It’s going to be one big party.”

The festive atmosphere will be apparent at tonight’s celebration event starring Rick Mercer. Acrobats and jugglers will entertain guests as they arrive and VIP ticket-holders get an onstage pass after the show.

“The stage is a place normally reserved for performers, but minutes after the curtain comes down, it will be transformed into a cocktail lounge,” Sansom says. “Guests will get to interact with Rick Mercer in the exact spot where he performed.”

But this high-profile show is just the opening act. A free community event is also planned for the next day, May 4, at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, between 10am and 2pm. It promises to be an experience people won’t soon forget. There will be more than 35 different activities and performances to enjoy at the Alive@25 Block Party. Little ones can take in a performance in the library by Juno-nominated children’s performer Jennifer Gasoi and then create their own music at the Musical Petting Zoo. Tweens and teens can check out the action in the skatepark, take a juggling workshop, or get a henna tattoo. No matter your age or stage, there is something for everyone—from remote-control robots to pottery workshops, as well as a host of performances throughout the day – from Aboriginal Experiences Hoop Dancing, Mushfiq Ensemble and comedian Buddy Wasisname, to name but a few.

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It takes a lot of people to make an event like this one happen and to run a theatre for 25 years. Those attending the block party will find out just how many, when the entire building is literally brought to life. Be on site in the Ben Franklin Atrium, theatre lobby or outside by the pond at 11:30am to witness this historic moment.

For more information, contact Barbara Brunzell, Marketing and Development, Centrepointe Theatres (o) 613-580-2424 ext. 14607  (c) 613-325-3538  barb.brunzell@ottawa.ca

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