There’s a new theatre in town.
Theatre Forty Two has been launched as a way to give local artists and audiences a new and affordable venue for the performing arts, its cofounders say.
“We’re really excited to bring people in and see what kind of ideas they have,” said Darryl Heater, 27. “We’re trying to be very community accessible and community focused.”
Located in the UNIFOR union hall at 900 Devine St., Theatre Forty Two is the brainchild of Heater and John Leverre, both fixtures of Sarnia’s theatre scene.
The pair signed a lease last summer and “invested substantially” to outfit the space with a stage, new sound system, LED stage lighting and a projector with a 16-foot screen.
The 155-person venue has a full bar and has applied for a liquor licence.
“There’s really nothing you can’t possibly do in this space if you’re creative enough,” said Leverre, 37, who is also a drama teacher at Northern Collegiate.
The space is designed to be affordable with most shows expected to cost $15 to $20 a ticket.
They sold out their first presentation, Cabaret 42: Disney, which was held last month.
Leverre said regular improv and comedy sketch shows are planned as well as workshops and movie screenings. The space is also available to the public for private events and independent productions.
And when rented, Heater and Leverre can provide advice, technical expertise and other staff as needed.
Leverre, formerly the owner of Diversion Entertainment, said he hopes the theatre’s smaller size and affordable rates will help attract “edgier” productions, which carry a bigger risk for ticket sales at large venues.
“We’re really hoping this to be a complement to what Theatre Sarnia is doing,” he said.
Leverre operated Diversion for five years, which staged productions locally such as The Wedding Singer.
After closing the company two years ago, he decided he wanted to create something similar but with a physical location.
The name Theatre Forty Two is a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“Forty-two is the meaning of life in that book, and I said, ‘Theatre Forty Two, where art gives life meaning,’” Leverre explained. “It just flowed; it just sounded right.”
Heater and Leverre said the new theatre wouldn’t have been possible without the support family, friends and the city’s dedicated theatre community.
For details on upcoming shows, workshops and facility rentals, visit www.facebook.com/TheatreFortyTwo or by calling 226-778-7811.