Press Release – Gift From the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation Will Provide Upgrades For Accessibility To Persephone Lobby

Saskatoon, Sask. – Persephone Theatre is excited to announce a gift of $500,000 from Ellen Remai, through the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, to address accessibility upgrades and renovations for the lobby and interior of the building.

Since the public access to the building is currently limited due to the roof replacement during the summer, it is the best time to address other needed upgrades to the public areas of the building. This will limit the necessity of further building closures in the future, which would have a direct impact on both the organization and community. Both the roof replacement and lobby renovations will be completed by the end of summer, in time to launch the 50th season in the fall.

“Ellen Remai is an integral part of the fabric of not only Persephone Theatre, but to the health of arts and culture in Saskatoon,” said Executive Director Breanne Harmon. “We are grateful she saw a need within this venue in which her foundation has made a significant investment in, recognizing the opportune timing and came forward with this gift. The Tibor Memorial Lobby is a place to gather, and after 17 years, we are truly elated it will receive the upgrades it deserves for the Remai Arts Centre to continue to be an exceptional arts facility.”

The upgrades will include a refurbishment of the lobby area and an upgrade of the bar facilities, which remain original to the buildings opening in 2007. The goal is to create a more inviting and comfortable space with increased accessibility where patrons can gather and socialize before shows, as well as accessibility upgrades to support Front of House staff when serving patrons.

“In 2023, Persephone underwent an extensive Gap Analysis through the Rick Hansen Foundation, and we learned that while the building met requirements for access in 2007, we received many recommendations on how to meet the current gold standard of accessibility for all who use our space,” Harmon explained. “These renovations are the first step in addressing accessibility challenges, to ensure the Remai Arts Centre is truly a place for everyone.”

The lobby is the first impression the theatre has on patrons before they see a production or utilize the space, and it also serves as a space for receptions, community events, and other artistic gatherings. It has hosted many events, including The First Monday, an ever-popular partnership with Sum Theatre. The refresh will also address the main lobby bathrooms, adding additional barrier-free stalls in the newly refurbished all-gendered washrooms, featuring private floor to ceiling partitioned stalls.

“By addressing access in the lobby and bathrooms, and creating an inviting space, we are excited to continue to host both Persephone and community events,” Harmon said.

“In addition to enhancing the access, aesthetics and functionality of the public spaces, the renovations are also a way to look forward to the next 50 years of creating theatre, as Persephone enters into its 50th anniversary season,” said Artistic Director Heather Cant. “It is a significant time in the theatre’s history, symbolizing growth, evolution, and a continued dedication to providing exceptional theatrical experiences for audiences of all ages.”

Persephone Theatre looks forward to welcoming audiences back into the building for the 50th season in the fall.

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For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:
Jodi Schellenberg, Director of Marketing & Communications
306-384-2116 ext. 237
[email protected]


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