A Brief History of the Facility
In the early part of the 20th century, the Imperial Theatre in Windsor, Nova Scotia served as a movie house as well as a stage venue for touring shows and community concerts. Legends like Hank Snow and Portia White played in the theatre on their Maritime circuits in the 1940s and beyond.
By 2003, the facility at 106 Gerrish Street was sitting vacant, having shown its final movies in the late 1990s. At that point, Mermaid stepped in to preserve the landmark, purchasing the theatre and looking for funding to begin the long process of renovating it.
Restorations were facilitated with assistance from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development, the Department of Cultural Heritage, and private and corporate donors who are participating in an ongoing “seat sale.” Mermaid Theatre has itself invested $250,000 in the project, and is currently seeking an additional funding to complete the installation of technical equipment. For more information on the funding go here.
After more than three decades of touring award-winning productions around the globe, Mermaid now has a wonderful facility for its hometown performances. Renovation work is mostly complete at MIPAC, with a lighting catwalk installed in the theatre in the fall of 2013.
The complex now includes the 400-seat auditorium, a 60-seat intimate “second stage” venue called The Mermaid Loft, and a reception room which also functions as a gallery to showcase works by local artists.
The facilities have been much in demand now that the work is mostly done. In addition to full-scale presentations in the main hall (including preview and homecoming performances of Mermaid’s signature shows), the Loft enjoyed a busy first summer with a variety of workshops, coffeehouse-style concerts, informal readings and Mermaid Youtheatre presentations.
Since 2008, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, along with a variety of local sponsors, has used MIPAC to host an annual Entertainment Series, with a commitment to provide audiences with a variety of popular touring acts, community-based performances, family shows, and our own award-winning productions. Both venues are also available for rental, hosting everything from dance recitals to movie location shooting. For information about theatre rentals, contact Mermaid at 902-798-5841.