Press Release

St. John's

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
St. John’s, NL – Members of the local arts and business community, along with provincial and federal government officials gathered at The Rooms this morning to take part in the official launch of the Set The Stage Capital Campaign in support of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador (TNL). Campaign Chair, the Honourable Brian Tobin, shared the vision and purpose of the campaign, and called on the community to set the stage for the future of the world-renowned theatre company, best known for its Gros Morne Theatre Festival.
“This campaign will build a new theatre facility in the beautiful rural community of Cow Head, NL,” said the Hon. Brian Tobin, Campaign Chair, “Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador is extremely important, not only to the citizens of Cow Head, and the West Coast of Newfoundland but, to every Newfoundlander and Labradorian, at home and away. TNL is part of the very fabric of our culture. But this campaign is about so much more than bricks and mortar. Through believing in and creating opportunity for countless young writers, actors and production personnel, the Festival enriches lives in all corners of this country and around the world - even on Broadway!” he said.
TNL Artistic Director, Jeff Pitcher, also took part in the launch event, highlighting the need for a new facility to meet the ever-growing demand for their shows, performed in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, which sees over 250,000 visitors each tourist season. “Our sold-out summer season at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival is now turning audiences away - we just can't accommodate them in our current facilities,” said Pitcher, “These additions and improvements will increase the Festival’s seating capacity from 190 to 272 seats, contributing significantly to the sustainability of the Festival”.
“Culture and art are an inherent part of who we are as a Province,” said the Hon. Seamus O’Regan, Member of Parliament for St. John’s South – Mount Pearl. “And the Government of Canada is proud to see that culture grow through our support for Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador. The Gros Morne Theatre Festival provides such a unique opportunity to showcase our stories and our culture locally, nationally and indeed, around the world.”
The Gros Morne Theatre Festival currently operates from two performance venues, the main stage is the 92-seat Warehouse Theatre, the second a conference room situated in the nearby motel. Neither venue can support current audience demand; on many nights, as many visitors are turned away disappointed as are admitted. Once completed, the new facility it will include a theatre and rehearsal hall, lobby and intermission area, production and storage areas, office areas, accommodations and a kitchen area. But the new facility will do more than answer the call for more seats. The new stage will be three times larger, accommodating more ambitious performances with improved sound and more lighting versatility. And, a dedicated rehearsal hall will double as a small performance venue, enabling more student engagement and programs in concert with schools and the Arts program at Memorial’s Grenfell Campus.
“We are delighted to contribute to such an important part of our culture, and such an important economic engine for our province,” said Premier Dwight Ball, “As we look to the future of this province, and arguably this country, we need to recognize the arts for the richness it brings to our daily lives, the kick start it gives our youth in being the innovators and leaders of tomorrow, and the economic prosperity it brings to our province through our vibrant tourism industry” he added.
“A national treasure such as this deserves to have a facility that parallels its work on and off the stage. Today, we officially begin the work which will Set The Stage for the future of Gros Morne Theatre Festival,” said Tobin, “I want to thank both our federal and provincial governments, who have stepped up to help Theatre Newfoundland Labrador reach its full potential, by contributing $3.7 million and $500,000 respectively to-date, to the campaign. We have already received the support of some corporate partners who are giving generously to the campaign. With this launch event here today, I want to encourage more members of the corporate community and the public, to come together to make this important project a reality. Together, we will ensure that the next acts for TNL will shine on the local, national and international stage!”.
More information regarding the Set The Stage campaign, and how corporate partners and members of the public can get involved, can be found on the campaign website
Please direct media inquiries to:
June Perry
Pilot Communications
(709) 682-2682
(709) 753-0794
For almost 40 years, they have set the stage for magical experiences. Formed in 1979, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador (TNL) is year-round, not-for-profit, professional theatre company dedicated to the creation of new plays for and about Newfoundland and Labrador, and to producing plays from the national and international repertoire that speak to a broader sense of place. One of their great successes has been the Gros Morne Theatre Festival (GMTF) in Cow Head, NL, which has enlightened and entertained audiences since 1995.
But, now the festival is facing a significant challenge, triggered in part by its own success. The Set The Stage Campaign will build a new theatre facility in the beautiful rural community of Cow Head, setting the stage for the future of theatre in Newfoundland and Labrador for many, many years to come.
Members of the Set The Stage Campaign Cabinet are:

The Honourable Brian Tobin, Chair
Gary Anstey
Paul Antle
Jim Burton
Anne Whelan
Dean MacDonald
Barry Perry
June Perry
John Risley