About Town Hall 1873 ~ Centre for the Performing Arts
Built in 1873, the Town Hall Centre for the Performing Arts has been used in a number of capacities over the years. Originally the Township Office, jail and court house, it has also been a theatre, roller skating rink, movie house, fire station and ladies undergarment factory.
In 1973 a group of dedicated residents persuaded the Township Council to lease the abandoned building for 99 years at $1.00 a year rather than destroy it for a parking lot and the Town Hall was again reverted to a theatre. A stage was added but otherwise the hall retained its historic state for nearly three decades.
Bringing Back the Theatre
It became evident that the demand for the hall was outgrowing its capacity and plans were initiated for major renovations that maintained the historic integrity but fulfilled the modern needs of kitchen facilities, air conditioning, sloped theatre floor and comfortable seating, dressing rooms, backstage area and stage wings and most importantly, making the building fully accessible with lift and washrooms. The $1.2 million expansion and renovations took approximately 6 years in the planning, fundraising and building. This was made possible through the generosity of the public along with Provincial, Federal and Municipal grants and a Municipal loan.
Grand Re-Opening in 2004
In the fall of 2004, the newly renovated building opened first to audiences with the staging of the original musical production “Once Upon a Winter’s Eve” by local playwright Liz Auston which was produced by Scugog Choral Society in November 2004. The official Grand Opening Ceremonies were then held in December as a sparkling Gala and Concert event starring renowned pianist Michael Kaeshammer and emcee Sylvia Mina.
A Cultural Anchor of Downtown Port Perry
The Town Hall 1873 Centre for the Performing Arts has become a popular venue for anniversaries, weddings and meetings as well as performances by production companies, dance schools and individuals as well as the resident and non-resident musical and dramatic community theatre groups who perform here regularly. The arts and entertainment scene alive and well at Town Hall 1873 which has earned a place as “The” Centre for the Performing Arts in Durham Region.