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Christmas comes early to Theatre Sarnia and the Imperial Theatre

cover of First Monday featuring a photo of Imperial Theatre

After thousands of volunteer hours and hundreds of performances and fundraisers, Theatre Sarnia and the Imperial Theatre have paid off their 20 year mortgage with the City of Sarnia.   On November 6th 1996 the Sarnia Drama League, as it was called then, signed the papers for a $600,000.00 mortgage with the City of Sarnia.   A group of volunteers, too many to count, have worked tirelessly for 20 years to see this dream come true.   Every November 30th without fail, the Theatre Manager would make his/her way down Christina Street to the financial department of City Hall and hand over the required $30,000.00 payment.  There were definitely some lean years and sleepless nights, but the terms of the mortgage were always met.     

The original steering committee consisted of Kenn Poore, Donna Veriker (Poore), George Wood, Tony Hughes, Carol O’Grady, and Clarice Hunt.  They worked with many other members of Theatre Sarnia who envisioned a place that they could call their own.   Some of the steering committee members have passed away, but if ever there were a time when ghosts walked the Hallowed Hall of the theatre it will be now.  And you will most definitely hear the clink of glasses as they toast this momentous occasion that they only dreamed about in the 1990’s.

Theatre Sarnia, now entering their 90th year, was started with the creation of the Drama Club of Sarnia in 1927. After many years known as the Sarnia Little Theatre the organization is now known as Theatre Sarnia and it is one of the oldest, continuously operating theatre groups in Canada and one of the few that actually own their theatre. The Imperial Theatre is wholly owned and operated by Theatre Sarnia, a Not-for-Profit Charitable Corporation, under the governance of an elected Board of Directors.

On November 30th, the final payment was presented to the City of Sarnia at a ceremony on stage at the Theatre.  The final payment was a donation from Megan and Diane Hadley on behalf of Megan’s parents, Fred and Val Hadley, who played a prominent role in every aspect of the theatre and worked diligently along with many other members toward paying the mortgage in full.   

“ We’d like to thank the strong efforts of all of the donors, sponsors and volunteers for making this dream a reality. We are thrilled the Imperial Theatre has become the jewel of Downtown Sarnia. Some of the newer members were not even born when this journey began, and it is up to us to show them that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in it with a passion, ” concludes Executive Director Brian Austin Jr.

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