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Bus Stop Theatre gets final batch of government funding 

The theatre co-op is still $109,000 short of its $1.2 million goal.

click to enlarge COLLEEN MACISAAC
  • Colleen MacIsaac
In what may be the only good news for arts organizations struggling to exist in the time of the coronavirus, The Bus Stop Theatre announced this week that its final pocket of government funding has been promised by Canadian Heritage.

The commitment of $355,000 comes after an initial promise of $250,000 by Halifax Regional Council last spring, and $355,000 from the province promised this year.

Sebastien Labelle, executive director of The Bus Stop Theatre Cooperative, says the money is proof of the "steadfast belief in what The Bus Stop Theatre is and what it means to Halifax, Nova Scotia and the communities that make use of it."

The theatre co-op is just $109,000 short of its $1.2 million goal to buy and renovate the building at 2203 Gottingen Street—hoping to raise $25,000 more before the purchase date of July 30.

"We want to minimize our reliance on a loan," says Labelle, "so we're asking folks to chip in."

"We understand also that it's a difficult time for many and so it's not an easy pitch to make in the context of the pandemic, but it's what we have to do to get where we want to get."

To help get to its goal, the theatre co-op is throwing a streamed concert with the likes of Aquakulture, Gabrielle Papillon and T. Thomason on July 17.

What comes for the building once it's bought on July 30 is as up in the air as any post-COVID-19 plan, but owning the building means the organization will no longer have to pay rent—something that's strangling many other arts organizations right now.

There's talk of live performances and short films, but Labelle says he's waiting until there's more information from public health before making any decisions.

But, the public and government support tell Labelle that "people understand more than ever that we'll need spaces like the Bus Stop Theatre once we get through this pandemic." 

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