Green Thumb Theatre and the Vancouver School Board announced a unique partnership to preserve one of Vancouver's top heritage sites by reclaiming it for use by one of the province's top educational theatre companies.
Green Thumb Theatre plans to renovate the Carleton School House, which was recently placed at the top of Heritage Vancouver's most endangered sites list. Should the theatre company be successful in raising the requisite funds, it plans to repair the roof of the school house and renovate the building to make use of two rehearsal halls, washroom facilities and six parking spots. A nearby outbuilding will be renovated to be used for administrative offices.
"This partnership is a win for everyone," says Patti Bacchus, Chair of the Vancouver Board of Education. "Not only are we repurposing a gorgeous heritage site, but our students currently attending Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School will get the added benefit of exposure to some of the top theatre educators in BC."
Once the buildings have been upgraded, Green Thumb Theatre is planning to hold drama workshops with neighborhood students. The close proximity of Green Thumb's rehearsal space will allow classes to visit actors to learn more about educational theatre production.
"We're very excited about the opportunity to move in next to Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School," says Patrick McDonald, Artistic Director of Green Thumb Theatre. "These facilities will be the perfect new home for our troupe and allow us to continue to use live performance to educate and empower young people."
The Vancouver School Board has been searching for a way to retain the Carleton School House for years. The building was damaged by an arson fire in 2008 and is currently sealed with plastic tarpaulin and is vacant.
Bacchus says the partnership with Green Thumb Theatre is particularly ideal from the Vancouver School Board's perspective because of the type of theatre they do.
Green Thumb Theatre was founded in 1975 to develop original Canadian plays for young audiences. The theatre company remains at the forefront of the Theatre in Education movement, using the emotional impact of live performance to educate and empower young people. Each year Green Thumb tours every school district in British Columbia, performing to more than 125,000 children.