New Performing Arts Centre will offer diverse performances: Yerxa

Rendered concept sketch for the the new Performing Arts Centre (PAC), expected to be built on King Street and Regent Street. (Submitted: Tim Yerxa)

Fredericton’s new performing arts centre is going to expand the capacity to present more diverse and different types of live performances, according to Tim Yerxa, executive director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

In a news release, the City of Fredericton confirmed the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) will be built on the southwest corner of King Street and Regent Street.

“It’s really going to be a big help in that part of downtown in terms of making use of what is now basically a surface parking lot,” Yerxa explained.

The city purchased the land in 2021 and divided it into three separate pieces. One section will be used for the PAC, one will be used for the new Justice Building and the third for a mix of commercial and residential buildings.

The cost for this project was estimated to be $45 million in 2019. Due to inflation, construction costs have increased and now the estimate for this project is $58.3 million.

Yerxa said the PAC will have two performing halls, one with 850 seats and one with 300 seats and including a smaller hall will make performing more accessible to artists who did not fit the large hall.

He also explained that there will be larger lobby spaces and public spaces in the new building to host events and activities.

“We’ll be able to do different kinds of activities, whether those are workshops or small performances, or lectures or demonstrations. Different things at all times of the day,” said Yerxa.

He explained that the benefit to building an entirely new location is that the Playhouse does not need to cease operations for an estimated three years while construction is taking place.

But the future of the Playhouse is still uncertain.

“The city doesn’t intend to maintain ownership of the current Playhouse because the new building will do everything the current Playhouse does and more,” said Yerxa .