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L.A. Beat

Blank Space closed as A Gin Game and A Christmas Carol cancelled

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Bad news everybody. While local performers, arts groups and theatrical groups were really looking forward to being able to utilize the Blank Space theatre (located at Unit 3 1416 2 Ave S) for upcoming performances, especially after getting an advance peek at the place at the opening gala, Nov 1, the space has been put on hold due to obstacles arising with the City of Lethbridge.The Blank Space has closed after cancelling two upcoming shows. Photo by Richard Amery
 Two important fundraising shows have been cancelled as Black Space looks for a new location. Volunteers spent Sunday dismantling the space.
 The Gin Game, set to run Nov. 13-18 and Nov. 20-24 was the first to be cancelled. And unfortunately, they have also had to cancel an innovative production of A Christmas Carol, originally scheduled for the first two weeks of December, which would have had six actors playing all of the roles in the beloved Christmas story in front of a minimal set and utilizing music and  props to convey the different characters.

 A Christmas Carol Director Juanita DeVos is “gutted” by the news.
“We are now forced to do what we and every other small performance in Lethbridge has had to do for years: rent space in a venue that is not designed or zoned for the purposes of gathering people and equipment together for a performance... because we are not allowed to use our space which is not (yet) designed or zoned for the purposes of gathering people together for a performance,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

“ The city knows this is happening, but turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to what I now realize has been (and continues to be) the unsafe and unlawful mis-use of spaces that do not have the zoning or permits for theatrical production/performances (according to what we have been told). We have been threatened with legal action if we should use our space before all of the zoning and permits are in place. The irony is that, by being forthright with our intent for the Blank Space and by seeking to obtain the proper permits and zoning, we became an entity they could not pretend was not happening,” the statement continues.


“I understand that the city may not have a process in place to address the issues that may involved with the rental of a space not designed for theatrical purposes. I recognize that ignoring those events can actually be considered a kindness in enabling these events to continue happening while the city does not have adequate facilities for the artistic/performance community to use. However, by not creating those processes and making the creation of such a facility a priority, they are actually sending a message that this type of community and its patrons are not important enough to make those things happen. If the reason for demanding the Blank Space cease activities until all permit requirements are met was indeed to ensure the safety of us all, then I find such inactions offensive,”
 The Blank Space board hope to get a fresh start in the new year with a new location.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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