• Nick Zacharias

Village Theatre gets a boost


PHOTO COURTESY THE OFFICE OF PETER SCHIEFKE

An announcement was made Monday, June 29 by Vaudreuil-Soulanges MP Peter Schiefke (centre, flanked by HVT Executive Director Kalina Skulska, left, and Elizabeth Corker, Chair of the Board of Directors) that a substantial grant from Heritage Canada will help the landmark theatre expand and update its facilities.

The converted Canadian Pacific Railway station that for 28 years has served as the landmark home for the Hudson Village Theatre (HVT) has gotten an almost million-dollar boost.

“The exact amount is $983,046,” said Peter Schiefke, Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. The money comes from the Canada Cultural Spaces fund, part of an effort to bolster the artistic and cultural experiences of Canadians across the country, and Schiefke made the announcement the afternoon of June 29 on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault.

Said Guilbeault in a press release, “We are all aware of the severe impact that the current crisis is having on the performing arts. Our government is committed to the well-being of our artists and artisans, as well as everyone who is passionate about arts and culture. We are pleased to help the Hudson Village Theatre offer them optimal conditions. We all hope that the residents of Hudson and the surrounding areas will soon be able to watch live entertainment in a beautiful, renovated space.”

New space for the arts

The money will be used to expand the existing theatre with a two-storey addition, upgrading the lobby and box office, and adding a full kitchen and improved washroom facilities. It will also mean adding a ‘black box’ space – an extremely flexible venue for rehearsals and smaller performances or events that can accommodate up to 50 people. The existing 148-seat theatre will remain in place unaltered by the addition. In total it will mean an expansion to two times the existing usable space.

“The proposed expansion will greatly enhance the overall theatrical experience for our performing artists and growing audiences, and will definitely have a positive impact on the professional arts community as a whole,” said Elizabeth Corker, Chair of the Board of Directors at HVT. “Doubling the usable area will allow the Hudson Village Theatre to better serve the local community and surrounding area.”

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

The historic former CPR station in Hudson is quiet in terms of train traffic these days, and theatre traffic too because of COVID-19, but it will hopefully soon be once again bustling with artistic activity as it gets its second major transformation.

Long tradition

Over nearly three decades, the theatre has boasted numerous memorable events, including Hudson Players Club performances and many professional productions, a host of appearances by renowned authors for StoryFest, screenings of many cinematic wonders, an inimitable chorus of Christmas Pantomimes and more. They welcome more than 20,000 spectators from across Montreal and beyond each year, as well as providing space for local fundraisers and conferences.

“We are proud to support the Hudson Village Theatre,” said Schiefke. “These renovations will ensure improved programming that will delight audiences and bolster the vitality of our beautiful community. Your theatre’s success proves that quality performances can be held outside major city centres. Thank you for serving your community so well. You are an inspiring example to everyone.”

With the two-year process of applying for and securing the grant behind them, there is much more work ahead to get ready for the upgrade. HVT Executive Director Kalina Skulska offered thanks to Schiefke for his support, and confirmed “…we’ll be ready to get shovels in the ground by fall 2022 or spring 2023.”

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