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The Pinnacle Playhouse Theatre Gets a Lift!

With the December 16, 2003 addition of a new elevator, barrier-free washroom and room for wheelchairs right up front, everyone can enjoy the show at the Pinnacle Playhouse Theatre!

Belleville, ON: All eyes of those driving and walking along Pinnacle Street in Belleville have been watching with interest the new addition that has been going up at the Belleville Theatre Guild.

Designed and executed by Guthrie Engineering of Belleville, the project is nearing final completion and all of their members are very pleased with the finished project. A few trial runs were taken during the last production, most notably when Beryl Rutland, a long time Guild supporter and past member of the Board of Directors took a ride up at the start of the evening, then back down after the performance. "It was very nice", she said when asked after the show how she enjoyed her ride.

Many members of the audience are looking forward to enjoying the same benefits when attending a show. "Our box office figures show that over 50% of our season's ticket holders are senior citizens and we were losing subscribers who had been with us for years because they couldn't handle the stairs" said Guild president Phil Bowerman.

An added benefit is the brand new barrier free washroom, which will help seniors and the physically challenged, as well as the luxurious new box office. With its sparkling chandelier and half circle window, it is a welcome addition to the streetscape.

There have been many generous donations made to support this project. The most significant was the $75,000.00 donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation last Fall. The project was slated to cost a further $95,000.00 and there have been many donations made towards the renovation.

The most significant of those donations are to be honoured at a special gathering at the building on Thursday, December 18th at 2:00 PM. In attendance will be a representatives from Belleville Minor Sports and former mayor Ross McDougall, who each made a substantial donation to the worthy cause.

It is to be noted that a new playbill sign will be installed soon at the front of the building, which will further broaden the Belleville Theatre Guild"s profile in the City of Belleville.

Fundraising campaigns are still under way. "We are looking for at least $20,000.00 more to be donated in order to complete this project," said fundraising chairperson, Jim Ross. "We were able to access $50,000.00 from our building fund, which the Guild has been saving for years for this type of project".

Donations can be made to The Belleville Theatre Guild Elevator Addition. No donation is too small and now is a good time to make it in order to take advantage of the tax benefit before the end of the year.

The Belleville Theatre Guild's next major fundraising project will be a production of Richard Cory Went Home Last Night, by T. Rob Brown. It was performed to sold out audiences at The Waring House in Picton recently. The next show which has been generously donated by the writer/producer will be held on February 14th, 2004. It is a brand new genre of theatre, an interactive murder-mystery dinner theatre. More details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

The Belleville Theatre Guild began in the Fall of 1951 with little or no money and no home to operate from. They found places that ranged from the third storey of a downtown building that burned down with all of their props and costumes in it, to a leaky donated room at the back of a building on Campbell Street.

In 1969 the City of Belleville contributed the D.L. Storey Centre on Pinnacle Street. They renamed it The Pinnacle Playhouse and it has been the source of their success ever since. Renovations were done in the 1980's, which included new washrooms, a new entrance and an addition at the rear for a backstage and dressing rooms.

Their slogan for this campaign has been "Help Give Us A Lift". The Belleville Theatre Guild continues to give a lift to many in this community and has been for many, many years. They are a cherished cultural component of this vibrant community. Long Live The Belleville Theatre Guild!!!