Theatre group awaits fate

Central Alberta Theatre expects to know its fate by early in the new year.

Central Alberta Theatre expects to know its fate by early in the new year.

Letters went out last week to about 20 creditors, proposing the repayment of some of the money owed to them by CAT.

The financially troubled theatre company cannot afford to repay all of its $800,000 in debts.

The debts were largely accrued through major cost overruns in the renovation of City Centre Stage.

CAT’s acting business manager Randy Nicholls said the “chartered insolvency and restructuring professional” does not expect to get all of the creditors’ responses until January.

If most creditors accept CAT’s repayment proposal, the theatre group will remain operational as a non-profit.

If they do not, CAT will have to declare bankruptcy.

The theatre group had asked Red Deer city council for $60,000 in order to hire a full-time person to run the Memorial Centre.

The company now has one full-time technician and one “very part-time” volunteer co-ordinator, and they are barely managing the workload, said Nicholls, who was hoping for a speedy resolution.

But he was told that city councillors want to hear what creditors have to say first, as they do not want to give money to a group that must declare bankruptcy.

Nicholls expects the matter will go back before city council early in 2013.

If bankruptcy must be declared by CAT, the city would have to determine who would run the Memorial Centre and take bookings for the facility.

CAT would also then have to determine whether it could continue with its 2013 season.

Nicholls said the local volunteers would still be willing to stage the plays, but the question is, where?

“It will depend on whether we get access to CAT Studios” in the Memorial Centre.

The best thing Red Deer residents can do to support CAT is to buy tickets to the Christmas production of My Three Angels, which opens on Nov. 22, he said.

So far, sales are going well. Although there is no dinner theatre, party rooms are available for corporate Christmas parties.

Meanwhile, CAT has had to make another change to its season.

If all goes well, Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers will be staged from April 11-27 in the Nickle Studio, upstairs at the Memorial Centre.

And the previously slated Gladys in Wonderland will be postponed to CAT’s 2013-2014 season.

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