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Bailey Theatre Launches $1.2 Million Theatre Upgrades

The building was built in the 1920’s, and the theatre was upgraded last in the 1980’s.

The Trail & District Arts Council, in partnership with The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, is undertaking safety upgrades to The Bailey Theatre starting this summer.

After four years of planning, we are excited to begin this big and necessary project that will start in August and be completed by the end of November. Most of the funds for this project were secured through grant applications.

These funds will help pay for new theatre rigging (the structure that lights and set pieces hang on over the stage), a new drapery system, an electrical upgrade, and a fall arrest system to bring the theatre up to code. The current rigging and drapery are mounted on wooden battens that are warped and bent, the nylon rope rigging is unsafe, and the whole structure is outdated and flammable.

Executive Director, Nadine Tremblay explains, “The building was built in the 1920’s, and the theatre was upgraded last in the 1980’s, but things are just getting old. We don’t use the theatre and its equipment to its full potential because it’s simply too risky to overload the structure. These upgrades have been a long time coming and are needed to remain safely in operation and stay open for business.”

To bring the theatre up to code a new hanging truss will be installed to allow for equipment and scenery installations, the stage ceiling will be properly fire sealed, a new light rigging system and lights will be installed, and the stage drapery will be updated to fireproof velour curtains. 

As well, a fall arrest system to the front of house catwalk will be added to protect workers while adjusting lighting fixtures. In addition, the orchestra pit cover and apron risers will be replaced to create an even floor and eliminate the tripping hazard in front of the stage. And finally, all of the electrical outlets above the stage will be rewired and brought up to code and hanging points for circus acts will be installed to accommodate aerial performers.  

Tremblay adds, “For patrons at the theatre it won’t look that different, but patrons and staff can expect a safer and more comfortable experience, as well as some beautiful and more dynamic lighting design, circus acts who will utilize the new hanging points, and a more diverse group of usersrenters and artists that we couldn’t welcome into our space until these upgrades were made.”

“Arts and cultural institutions like the Charles Bailey Theatre are vital to thriving communities. We are thrilled to invest $600,000 in a renewed, modernized and safer performance theatre in Trail,” said the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “Our government recognizes the pivotal role the creative sector plays in our cities and towns, and the cultural spaces that fuel the imagination.”

While The Bailey Theatre has been open sporadically throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trail Arts Council can’t wait to have people back in the venue this Fall, laughing and taking in world class artists and community events together again.

This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, BC Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia, The Columbia Basin Trust, RDKB, Area A and B, and of course TDAC.