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Fundraiser for air force museum theatre

The basic layout of the 124 seat theatre. Courtesy of the National Air Force Museum Foundation. [1]

The basic layout of the 124 seat theatre. Courtesy of the National Air Force Museum Foundation.

By Taylor Broderick [2]

BELLEVILLE – If enough money can be raised, the National Air Force Museum of Canada [3] at CFB Trenton [4] may get a new theatre.

Susan Scarborough, chair of the museum’s foundation board [5] which raises money to support its day-to-day operation, asked Quinte West [6] city council for a donation of $50,000 at Monday night’s meeting.

Scarborough said the board is hoping this new theatre will attract more visitors. 

“The National Air Force Museum of Canada is an important contributor to the history of our air force,” she said, adding that the museum brings in more than 50,000 visitors each year.

The overall cost of the theatre is estimated to be about $500,000 and it needs to be raised before the federal government approves the project for tender.

The theatre will be built in 2,200 square feet of unused space behind the gift shop.

When it’s complete, the educational and performance theatre will seat up to 124 people, Scarborough said. It will be open seven days a week and will be available for use by military personnel, students and community groups.

“We intend that it will be used for live performances. Down the road it will certainly be available,” Scarborough said.

Admission to the museum is free and visitors will be able to enter the theatre through the gift shop.

“When people come to the museum… they’ll have the opportunity to go into the theatre,” Scarborough said. “There will be regularly run films in the (theatre).”

War documentaries, wartime films and movies are just some of the features visitors can sit down and watch in the theatre.

Right now, films are showcased in the middle of the museum where visitors sit on church pews in front of a TV.  The theatre would be much more comfortable.

“This theatre will be a valuable asset in keeping the museum’s legacy alive and vibrant. (It) will play a significant role in assisting us in telling the story,” Scarborough said.

Council will discuss the possibility of the $50,000 donation during a budget meeting for next year.

“(Council) is very supportive of the base and they appreciate how much good the base does for the whole entire region,” she said.

The capital budget is expected to be approved by city council Dec. 7. Scarborough says the board should hear back about the donation by then.