The spotlights will dim, but construction lights will be up for the next six months at Darke Hall in Regina.
The historic concert hall will be closed to the public starting on May 16 until November for the first phase of renovations.
Much like the makeup and costumes for actors who have performed there for generations, one step for a fresh take on this classic character will focus on the exterior.
The first phase of renovations on the building will include replacing some of the slate-tile roof, repairing the brick and stones, refurbishing windows, rebuilding the front steps and placing hand rails. The outstanding issue of accessibility will be addressed at a later date.
Although it was once the main concert hall for the Queen City, Darke Hall fell out of popular use and was only used for a few private concerts and recitals in the past few years. Last September, Do It With Class Young People’s Theatre and the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra moved into the building to give it a new lease on life.
The cost to rejuvenate Darke Hall is pegged at $3 million which is funded by donations to the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project.
The capital fundraising project has raised more than $7 million toward a total goal of $10 million since it was first announced in 2011.
Let’s just hope the construction crews don’t get spooked by the resident ghost. Darke Hall first opened in 1929 and has long been rumoured to be haunted by Francis Darke who died more than 70 years ago. He’s known to appear during performances in an old-fashioned three-piece suit.