In the early 2000s, a group of community theatre companies identified the advantages to leasing a shared space for rehearsals and offices. An opportunity on the former Currie Barracks was found that would be available for a medium-to-long term lease while the Barracks were redeveloped into a residential area.
They moved into the Community Arts Centre (CAC) in 2003, with the word that when the lease expired in 2008, the building would be demolished to make way for condos.
In 2007, the discussions began on what we would be looking for in a new space and how to get into it quickly. As time has shown, we were not ready on time for a 2008 demolition! But the markets were in our favour, and 2008 was pushed to 2010, which was in turn pushed to a “to be determined” date.
By this point, of course, the ball was rolling. An operating model had been decided upon, one that took the operation of the building away from the day-to-day running of a theatre company (StoryBook) and created a third party that could be tasked with finding, renovating and managing a community theatre production facility in Calgary. That company is the Calgary Community Theatre Ltd., a not-for-profit private company owned by 2 not-for-profit societies: currently StoryBook Theatre and Front Row Centre Players.
A few false starts and some changes in the names and faces behind the scenes, but by 2010, the CCTL was in the position to put in a bid for the license of occupation for the Beddington Heights Community Centre when the opportunity was offered by the City of Calgary in May 2010.
The Beddington Heights Centre was formerly run by the Beddington Heights Community Association (BHCA), who released their license to the city after realising that running a building was not core to their mandate. By finding another operator, BHCA is free to spend their time and efforts on their programming, much like the community theatre organizations who have created the CCTL to run their facility for them.
On January 31, 2012, the City of Calgary announced the award of the Licence of Occupation of the Beddington Heights Community Centre at a small celebration with Alderman Gael MacLeod, and we have begun in earnest to discuss the future of this facility – both as an accessible facility to those in the community and as an exciting hotspot of community theatre in the city.
The CCTL is excited to be moving into a facility already partially occupied by a thriving Before and After School Program and will be doing everything possible to accommodate the needs of this program throughout renovations and changes to the operation of the building.
The details of the renovation of the Beddingon Heights project will be posted to the blog on an ongoing basis. The goal here is to be as open as possible, but what that means is sometimes we will say something that may later prove to not be true. This is not because we are trying to mislead anyone or making false promises, it just means that later information has changed the situation.