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Prince George Playhouse ‘not safe,’ group says

A wall nearly fell on a performer during the Coldsnap Music Festival, organizers say.
1 PG Playhouse 2 WEB
Wooden hoarding covers the damaged western side of the Prince George Playhouse's fly tower in a Citizen file photo from June 2021.

The Prince George Playhouse is unsafe to host performances, according to the Prince George Folkfest Society.

Society treasurer and marking manager Aidyl Jago and communications manager and assistant executive director Katherine Benny provided city council with an update on the Coldsnap Music Festival on Monday night.

“I have to say, the Prince George Playhouse was not a safe place to put on a show,” Jago said. “At soundcheck with one of our artists at Coldsnap there was a baffle, a wall, that almost fell on our artist, and that was kind of depressing.”

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the City of Prince George said the theatre is safe to use. It was a 20-foot-high, three-foot-wide panel which came loose, not a structural wall, the city added.

On Dec. 4, 2020, a portion of the stucco siding fell off and an inspection found significant rot in the building. On June 14, 2021, city council approved $501,500 in repairs to allow the Playhouse to reopen, but city staff estimated $5.17 million in repairs are still needed.

“When we did the fall show with William Prince there was wind blowing into the back stage, because it was very, very windy night… and there was snow blowing into the theatre,” Jago added. “So, we need an alternative to the Playhouse.”

The society has been creative and is willing to try putting on a show at any venue available in the city, Jago added. The city needs a new, dedicated performing arts centre, she said.

“We have the capacity to bring in big-name artists and we want to show them that we can put on really great concert with great sound and a great audience experience, and that doesn’t always happen in the venues we have right now,” Jago said.

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