The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) is looking for a helping hand after incurring thousands of dollars in additional expenses over the summer.

The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre is asking residents to chip in to offset the cost of replacing old equipment over the summer, as well as supporting a group of Indigenous actresses who have been working on a play set to be performed next year. A GoFundMe campaign for $25,000 has been set up and closes March 24. photo courtesy of Northern Arts and Cultural Centre

The theatre has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 to help offset costs NACC paid to install new equipment and support the work of emerging Indigenous actresses. But as of Monday, no contributions had been made to the campaign.

“The theatre’s 30-some years old,” said Jeff Pitre, president of NACC’s board of directors, who explained some of the money will go towards renovations.

An annual inspection of the theatre this year determined its winches, which are used to hold up stage lights, were more than 20 years old and needed to be replaced, according to NACC’s communications manager, Josh Long.

Because of their age, NACC could no longer look up safety data for the winches, such as proper operating procedures or their life expectancy, he said.

“The renovations … they were absolutely necessary for us to continue operations,” said Long. “If there had been an accident, our board would be personally liable for that and our insurance would not have covered any of it because our annual inspection indicated that it was a high priority that we needed to get all this fixed.”

NACC replaced the equipment over the summer, but it came with a $65,000 price tag.

NACC hopes to raise $20,000 through the GoFundMe campaign toward that expense.

“If we have that, then that’s $20,000 we don’t have to find elsewhere,” said Long.

According to Pitre, NACC receives some core funding from the GNWT every year and also applies for money through grants.

However, it’s not enough to cover the expenses of every project the theatre puts on.

“You might get 70 per cent of (funding for) the project you want to do, so you’ve got to raise the difference,” said Pitre. “Otherwise it’s really hard. You’re only relying on ticket sales and that’s not always enough depending on how big it is.”

Long said NACC spent $120,000 to hire a number of Indigenous actresses for an upcoming Northern play that will be showcased in February and performed in Montreal and Toronto.

NACC sent six people, including some of the actresses, to Blachford Lake Lodge for 10 days, so they could focus on writing the play, he explained.

While it was an unusual move for NACC, the centre felt it was important, said Long.

“We wanted to make something to facilitate a play that was done by Indigenous female actresses,” said Long. “And we felt that the way to do that was to facilitate everything and let them take care of the rest.”

A number of the women are also emerging actresses and their work on the play will help bolster their resumes so they can contribute to “bigger, better things” in the future, said Long.

“But, in the meantime, we think it’s important to pay people appropriately for their work,” he said. “So we did that.”

NACC is asking the public to help contribute $5,000 to that cause.

Anyone can donate to the campaign through GoFundMe until March 24.

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