The mainstage at the Confederation Centre of the Arts has officially been renamed Sobey Family Theatre following a $1.25 million donation from the Sobey family.
The announcement was made Friday. The donation is the largest single gift in the centre's 58-year history.
"We are here today to recognize an outstanding gift of leadership from the Sobey family," said the centre's CEO, Steve Bellamy. "Support that will allow the centre to begin a period of transformation to be more accessible and welcoming to more visitors while continuing to create great new Canadian content."
"Various family members have volunteered on the board over the years, and have supported all areas of programming at one time or another — through gifts of artwork, commissions, sponsorships of programs in the Sobey gallery, choir and live performances on the mainstage," said board chair Bob Sear.
Expanding programming, accessibility
The money will go toward expanding the centre's artistic, heritage and educational programming along with working to help make it more accessible, Bellamy said.
Janis Sobey-Hames, chair of the David and Faye Sobey Foundation, made the announcement. She was accompanied by several family members including her father, David Sobey. She said members of the Sobey family have spent a combined total of 25 years on the Confederation Centre's board of directors, dating back to its opening in 1964.
She fondly recalled family visits to P.E.I. with her grandparents, Frank and Irene Sobey, and later with her own children.
"A highlight of our visits to the Island was always going to one of the many musicals and plays taking place on the mainstage," she said.
The mainstage was called the Homburg Theatre from 2009-19. It will be named Sobey Family Theatre until at least 2035.