The housing crunch on P.E.I. is making it difficult for actors in the Charlottetown Festival to find accommodations during the theatre season.
Dean Constable, general manager of theatre at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, says each year from May to the end of September the centre helps find rentals for about 40 or 50 actors, directors, designers and musicians involved in Anne of Green Gables — The Musical and other festival productions.
Constable said in the past, they would find Islanders who may move to the cottage for the summer and rent out their home or rooms. But he said in the last four years, those places have been harder to find as homeowners choose more lucrative options such as Airbnb.
"The rates there really place it out of the ability of an artist coming in," Constable said.
"These artists in many cases are coming from other cities, they have houses or apartments in other cities they're also trying to pay for on top of the rent here. That crunch really has put pressure on the market for us."
This year, the centre has offered incentives such as special invitations to shows and events in an effort to attract homeowners who want to be a part of the arts community and are willing to rent out their properties for less than they would get on sites such as Airbnb.
"Providing this housing is being part of being able to keep this festival going," Constable said. "If this pressure continues and we don't have a place to put artists, that's really going to hamper our ability to continue working. We can't obviously afford to pay the rates of short-term hotel accommodations."
Eager to get housing settled
The sooner the artists can find summer accommodations, the better, Constable said. He encourages anyone interested in helping out to contact the Confederation Centre.
"The artists are really eager to get this straightened away now and Islanders are not quite ready to make their summer commitments, so it's always hard for us now to sort of get people thinking about, 'what are you going to do in the summer and do you want to participate in this program?'"
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