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Can’t imagine Picton without the majestic Regent Theatre

Can you imagine Main St. of Picton without the Majestic Regent Theatre lit up in the evening? I am writing this because I feel that as a community we are very fortunate to have this beautiful historical theatre in downtown Picton as part of Prince Edward County’s heritage.

It is that time of the year again when The Regent starts it’s annual membership drive. To give you some background: the Theatre is a year round community entertainment centre serving a wide range of audiences and showcasing live theatre; live by satellite entertainment from around the world; first run, classics and international films, and the free Whattams’s monthly movie for families.
Also presented is a extensive range of live music including blues, country and jazz. This historical building that will celebrate its 100th anniversary in a few years has recently been extensively renovated to provide increased comfort and seating capacity for 446 patrons,  brand new washrooms, and meets the latest accessibility, fire and safety standards.
This past year with the support of the community and the help of a Trillium grant, the Regent was able to fully fund the purchase of state of the art digital equipment that now enhances the viewing experience and increases the Theatre’s access to first run movies.

Here are a few facts about the Regent that I was not aware of and you also may not know. The Regent Theatre is a not-for-profit independent community enterprise and a registered charitable organization. More than 35,000 people visit the Regent annually making this historic theatre a major contributor to the County’s overall economy and generating $2.4 million in economic benefits. Unfortunately, as a result of previous financial difficulties, the Regent Board (all volunteers) has inherited a large mortgage which costs about $36,000 per year to service. In all, it costs more than $1,000 per day to operate the theatre.

In order to provide a wide range of entertainment for every taste while keeping ticket prices affordable, the Regent relies on its base of dedicated volunteers. Presently there are 125 volunteers contributing approximately 14,000 hours annually in every area: from box-office, to costumes, to fundraising. In all, even at the level of a minimum hourly wage, this effort amounts to a contribution of over $210,000 in value.

The Regent also relies on the direct contributions and the community support of all its members. One third of the Regent’s budget is met through fundraising with membership being a key component. I was surprised to learn that despite recent campaigns, the Regent has only 450 members. This represents less than 2 per cent of the population of the County (25,000).

This wonderful historical theatre could not survive without the support of its membership base, so I would ask you to please think very seriously about purchasing a membership when the Regent Theatre starts its membership drive in August. There are various levels available starting at $50. As a registered charity the Regent is able to provide a tax receipt for most of your contribution.

In the meantime, if you wish to see and learn more about this amazing community institution, theatre tours can be arranged by calling 613-476-8416 Ext 26.

Click here to visit the Regent’s website.

-Fran

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

About the Author: Fran Renoy has lived in the County for forty years so considers herself almost a native. Both she and her husband Bill consider themselves very fortunate to live in beautiful Prince Edward County. She worked at PECM hospital for thirty years as a x-ray technologist,retiring in 1998.She has a very strong passion for her local hospital and encourages others to speak up and not be afraid to do so if they feel that services are being eroded.

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