The Town Hall by any Other Name

I think the saying in theatre jargon is ‘break a leg’, instead of good luck. The somewhat impetuous phrase has its origins in the 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth, the actor turned assassin, leapt to the stage of Ford's Theater after the murder, breaking his leg in the process.

Community theatre is a fantastic asset to any town and ours is one of the finest. We have many talented thespians, who freely donate endless hours of time, for the sole purpose of entertaining the rest of us.

Whether it is the Scugog Choral Society, the Borelians, Theatre on the Ridge or one of the many tribute band companies, quality entertainment is always at the ready for all who love it. Best of all, it is offered at an affordable price.

Not only do we have great performers, we also have a top class theater, with comfortable seating, an excellent sound system and a brand new lighting setup, utilizing the latest in technology.

The building named Town Hall 1873, was named so, so that it would not be confused with the Town Hall 2003, and those wishing to pay their taxes or water bills. It was originally the Town Hall of Port Perry, but has also been used as the town jail, a courthouse, roller skating rink, movie house, fire station and ladies undergarment factory.

The Township had plans for the grand old building, and those were to tear it down and create a parking area. A group of dedicated citizens persuaded them to do otherwise, and the building was saved. In 1973 the Town Hall again reverted to a theatre (it had been one, back in the day). A stage was added, but otherwise the hall retained its historic state for nearly three decades.

A cupola was added, which you may have noticed was recently removed for a major, year long, reconstruction, and the grand lady of theatre was back in business. Recently, I read of a potential name change for the historic building, as it seems, people are still wandering in, hoping to pay their tax or water bill.

One name, which is favoured by many, is the Town Hall Theatre. I’m not sure if leaving the words ‘Town Hall’ in the name, will prevent residents from still wandering in to pay their taxes and water bills.

Perhaps a more distinguished title, such as the Scugog Historic Theatre and Arts Centre (SHTAC), or perhaps the Scugog Centre for the Performing Arts, would better suit the cause. Of course, then the acronym would be SCPA, and no doubt hundreds will flock to the building in hopes of adopting a puppy or a kitty.

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