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Leaky roof causes Saskatoon theatre to close for the summer

(Stacey Hein/CTV News) (Stacey Hein/CTV News)
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The curtain will close for Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre on June 24, as the non-profit replaces part of the roof over the summer.

The theatre’s executive director Breanne Harmon said the roof has had issues with leaking over the past decade.

“There is so much trapped water within the membrane and the insulation that we have no choice but to do a full roof replacement,” Harmon told CTV News on Wednesday.

She said an architect told her when the theatre was built nearly two decades ago, the roofing material commonly used at the time was not made to withstand Saskatchewan’s extreme temperatures.

“Because we can go from -40 to within a couple of weeks what feels like +40, the roof over 17 years has had continual expansion and shrinking, which has led to a number of tears and big gaps in the roof,” she said.

Multiple “kiddie pools” sit on a grid, about six stories above the stage, to help catch the water.

(Stacey Hein/CTV News)

Walking up dozens of spiral stairs to get rid of the water has become routine for technical director Jody Longworth.

“During the spring thaw especially, it's literally come up every day, empty the buckets, transfer everything into one of the kiddie pools,” Longworth said.

He said he uses an electric pump to get rid of the water from there, but sometimes the roof leaks during a performance, causing further complications.

“Even during performances, we've had to come up and adjust things because we suddenly had water leaking down on the set of our show,” Longworth said.

Replacing the roof above the stage will be the first step, with plans to replace the roof in its entirety, according to Harmon.

She said the non-profit received a $300,000 donation from local philanthropists Malcolm and Marilyn Leggett to kick-start fundraising for the $2 million project.

“Any donation goes an incredibly long way to help us see this integral project through,” she said.

She noted while the stage is closed, the rest of the facility will still be operational. It’s expected to re-open in the fall for Persephone’s 50th season.

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