Toward the creation of a new cultural hub in Montréal, focusing on circus arts - Verdun Borough to build professional auditorium

    VERDUN, QC, Sept. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The first professional auditorium,
with a seating capacity of 275-350, will be built in Verdun, within a project
designed to create a new cultural hub that will promote performing and circus
arts, Claude Trudel, Mayor of the Verdun Borough, announced today.
    Magnificently located on the waterfront, the new facilities will
encourage circus arts as well as the Borough's cultural program of events. The
facilities will be built in Studio B, a multi-purpose room in the Guy Gagnon
building, formerly used as an arena and located at 5190, boulevard LaSalle, in
Verdun. The Verdun circus school (Ecole de cirque de Verdun) has been
occupying the other part of this complex-Studio A-since 1996.
    Mr. Trudel made the announcement in the presence of Catherine Sévigny,
member of the Executive Committee, responsible for culture, and acting Mayor
of Ville de Montréal; Christiane Poulin, General Manager of Ecole de cirque de
Verdun; and Samuel Tétrault, co-founder and Vice-Chairman of the Board of
Directors of Les 7 Doigts de la main, and a member of the Board of the En
Piste group.
    "The new facilities will be more than a traditional auditorium: they will
serve as a place for creation, production and dissemination for various
cultural organizations on the performing arts scene. Not only will we be able
to transfer part of our cultural centre's program of events here, but we plan
on inviting another circus troupe, such as Les 7 Doigts de la main, to make
this their headquarters," mentioned Mayor Trudel.
    The Mayor of the Verdun Borough is determined to make Verdun a real
cultural hub that will operate in synergy with the circus arts hub at Complexe
environnemental Saint-Michel, in order to accommodate shows in a smaller-size
auditorium. "Verdun's contribution toward extending Montréal's cultural
influence will be much more significant," he was pleased to add.
    "Complementarity between Studio B, La Tohu, Ecole nationale de cirque,
Ecole de cirque de Verdun and the En Piste group will be able to help make
Montréal a real world capital of circus arts," noted Mrs. Sévigny.
    Today's announcement comes on the heels of the acceptance, by the Verdun
Borough's elected officials, of the recommendations of a feasibility study
conducted by the MC Conseil consulting firm, to optimize Studio B.
    Verdun doesn't have any professional auditorium, but does have six venues
where 64 professional performing arts shows were presented in 2008, to
audiences totalling 13,454 people.

    Minimal cost for Verdunites

    "Such patronage shows Verdunites' interest in the performing arts and it
is our firm intention to pursue the development of our project, which will
cost our residents practically nothing at all," explained the Verdun Borough
    The financing needed to build an auditorium estimated at $5.2 million
could partially come from Ville de Montréal's 3-year capital expenditure
program ($3.1 million) as well as from the Federal government's Department of
Canadian Heritage ($1.5 million) and from the Québec government's Ministère
des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire ($0.3
million). It would require a contribution of $300,000 from the Borough-an
amount that would be taken from its own capital expenditure program. "We hope
to complete the financing package for the project before year-end," mentioned
Mayor Trudel.
    Moreover, studies are under way to determine the costs of the projects at
Studio A for Ecole de cirque de Verdun as well as the addition of a potential
partner. According to the study, Ecole de cirque de Verdun could become
recognized as an initial training school for Ecole nationale de cirque. Just
recently, the Verdun Borough signed a long-term lease with Ecole de cirque de
Verdun to occupy Studio A until December 31, 2017.
    "We're pleased with the Verdun Borough's decision to create a cultural
hub focusing on the circus arts and to give the planned auditorium a circus
signature. It's another wonderful opportunity to highlight our artistic
discipline," Mrs. Poulin was delighted to add.
    On behalf of Les 7 Doigts de la main, which is already using Studio B's
facilities, Mr. Tétrault said how very pleased they are with today's
announcement. "This is excellent news for Les 7 doigts de la main as well as
for the whole Montréal circus world. I can assure you that the future
development of Studio B, as an auditorium customized for the circus arts, and
a production space that is accessible to circus artists of tomorrow, is truly
a concrete response to a need in our world," he stated.
    The study conducted by MC Conseil consulting firm suggested to the Verdun
Borough that it transfer land near Studio B to build a centre for creation and
production and which would be called "Studio C". The presence of this
organization would make it possible to develop a program of cultural
mediation, as is presently being done at La Cité des Arts du cirque in the
borough of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc Extension.

For further information:

For further information: Francine Morin, Responsable du protocole et des
relations publiques, Verdun Borough, (514) 765-7282,

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