Living in London’s Old East Village for 86 years, the Palace Theatre has seen a lot of changes, from its start as a movie theater, to a live theater house. The main auditorium’s atmosphere reflects its past, including the walls covered with plaster, which saw better days.
“The water has seeped in behind the plaster and it’s causing the plaster to actually break off and crumble away from the wall,” explained Colin Foster, the Executive Director of the Palace Theatre.
They are looking for a $100,000 loan from City Council to cover the exterior repair costs. Foster said they need to get an EFIS system, an exterior system that acts as a moisture barrier.
“It stops the moisture from continuing to enter through the brick, but what it also does is increases the R-values so the whole by-product of this will be reduction in energy costs as well.”
The Palace Theatre previously had to repair a roof at the front of the building, which was about $150,000 to fix and was leaking. An Ontario Trillium Foundation grant covered half of the cost. “We looked to our patrons and our members, and our volunteers, and we put out a call, and there was a wonderful response and we were able to fundraise the other half of that ourselves,” he said.
Foster said the Palace was one of the first organizations to participate in the revitalization of Old East Village, and is part of the Business Improvement Area (OEVBIA). They also team up with the London Potters Guild, the Western Fair Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market, and Aeolian Hall. “We have a great relationship,” he said of Old East Village, “I couldn’t be m0re pleased about the neighbourhood we live in.”
The Corporate Services Committee gave initial approval of the funding request, and full council will make its final decision next week.