Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Astor Theatre Society in Liverpool is one of a number of arts groups that the Nova Scotia Government has indicated it will help support financially as it struggles to cope with the fallout of the pandemic.
Last week the department of Communities, Culture and Heritage announced it was granting the theatre $8,630 out of a total $2.1 million in one-time grants under its Emergency Support for Arts and Culture Organizations program.
Because of social distancing rules and other pandemic health regulations, groups such as the Astor Theatre Society have been unable to host plays and concerts which bring in most of the year's revenue and allow their facilities to carry on running.
Jean Robinson-Dexter, interim general manager for the group, said that the money is most welcome.
"It's definitely a huge help with basically no revenues coming into the Astor since March. All the pieces of support that have come through the society have been very important," she said. "As we continue through the pandemic, organizations like ours will continue to need support from the government to be able to be here when the pandemic is over. Arts are so important to the community and so important to the health of the communities."
According to Robinson-Dexter, some of the money will be used to help pay staff and for others to take a closer look at the strategic plan for the theatre and the town hall arts and cultural centre. It will also help support staff efforts to re-initiate some fundraising activities and customer service.
A third spend will be to promote the venue as a spot for live-streaming or recording of performances.
Although the Astor Theatre can't host live events attended by audiences, the space may be used for theatre groups to rehearse or as a general meeting space.
"We are just playing things by ear," said Robinson-Dexter.
She is hopeful that their projector can be fixed so that socially-distanced movies can be played once again. A new part that had to be ordered has arrived, however the technician that is needed to repair the machine lives in New Brunswick.
Lunenburg County groups also received emergency grants
Several arts organizations in Lunenburg County were bestowed with emergency funding as well, including the Chester Arts Centre Association ($10,000), Chester Theatre Council ($7,500), Kinship Performing Arts Centre Association ($7,000), Lunenburg Doc Fest Association ($15,000) and the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society ($10,000).