New Westminster – The City of New Westminster is pleased to announce that a long-term lease and working agreement for the operation of the Massey Theatre and Complex has been finalized. The City of New Westminster recently took ownership of the Massey Theatre and adjacent land which previously belonged to the New Westminster School District. MTS has been operating the Massey Theatre for over 40 years on behalf of the School District, and through the new lease, will expand its operational scope to support a diverse range of performing arts programs and services.
The lease and working agreement with the MTS establishes a reciprocally beneficial operating model that aligns with the City’s Strategic Plan, Arts Strategy and Theatre Strategy. The arrangement leverages the specialization, strategic plans, resources, assets, and skills of the Society to deliver services through a unique partnership with the City.
“The City of New Westminster has an important role to play in nurturing a vibrant arts and cultural scene in our community. This agreement demonstrates how municipalities can work creatively and strategically with partnering organizations to expand service delivery in our community,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté. “The Massey Theatre Society has the experience and expertise to operate the Massey Theatre on the City’s behalf to continue delivering services that support the advancement of our arts and cultural goals. We look forward to working collaboratively with MTS.”
The City of New Westminster’s Theatre Strategy, approved in 2019 following extensive community consultation, recognizes the potential of the Massey Theatre to grow into an arts complex and inclusive community gathering space to support a wide range of cultural, artistic and social needs. The goals and objectives outlined in the Strategy reaffirm the MTS as operator of the Massey Theatre, recognizing the leadership role they play in supporting performing arts development for the benefit of the local community and the regional arts sector.
“The long-term agreement we have achieved with the City of New Westminster places the theatre and surrounding facility in a very positive position to chart the next twenty five years of cultural and social development,” said Jessica Schneider, Executive Director, Massey Theatre Society. “Our City is making an unprecedented, visionary commitment to the creative community. A very large municipal arts centre being activated and co-developed by an artistic organization is progressive and truly exceptional.”
The more than 35,000 square foot leased space includes the existing Massey Theatre as well as the numerous connected adjacent classrooms, band rooms and a small gymnasium which will be repurposed to support a variety of inclusive and contemporary arts, cultural and community uses. The expansion into former school areas surrounding the theatre will enable professional artists to work in multiple disciplines while infusing the community with new cultural opportunities and creative endeavors. Digital media labs are planned along with smaller performance spaces, interdisciplinary festivals and visual arts exhibitions will integrate the space into a lively artistic hub for the Metro Vancouver region. The 1,260 seat Massey Theatre will remain a key performance venue and a driver of large activations within the complex.
The lease has been established for a 25-year term to provide operational stability and to enable MTS to leverage contributions from other levels of government to continue to invest in specialized programs, infrastructure and equipment for the betterment of the asset.
An open house will be held on November 6, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm at Massey Theatre. The theatre, studios, gallery, lobby and hallways will be alive with creation, exploration and activation by artists and creators. Proof of vaccination will be required prior to entry. Masks must be worn indoors at all times.
A virtual conversation on the new partnership between the City of New Westminster and the Massey Theatre Society will be held on November 24, 2021. More details will be announced soon at newwestcity.ca
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