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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Upgrades at the O'Brian Centre

Joseph Bardsley
Development Manager
Grants & Proposals 
You might think that the onset of warm summer weather – and the end of our 2011-12 performance season – means that nothing much has been happening around the Vancouver Opera offices lately. You actually couldn’t be further from the truth!

Since moving into our new home on McLean Drive, we’ve been working hard to make lasting improvements and upgrades that will further our capacity to support both established and emerging artists while also breaking new ground in community engagement.

 We want to ensure that our collective investment – and that of our donors - in The Michael and Inna O’Brian Centre for Vancouver Opera is reflected in the calibre of work we produce both onstage and in the community. Given this, we uphold a commitment to ensuring that the facility we are so fortunate to inhabit is utilized to its fullest potential.

To this end, we have committed to an intensive multi-phase facility up-fitting plan designed to bring our vision of a world-class opera centre to fruition. In its earlier life, the space we now occupy served as headquarters to retail clothing giant Lululemon. Since taking residence, we’ve gradually transformed our surroundings to reflect a unified company vision – creating areas to store costumes and properties, developing dedicated space for our administrative office and transforming the facility’s lower level into an expansive rehearsal hall.

Named in honour of longtime VO supporter Martha Lou Henley, the rehearsal hall comes complete with a specially-reinforced dance floor capable of withstanding even the most grueling choreography – as the cast of West Side Story will attest!

Under construction!

Almost immediately after Aida wrapped, we began Phase Two of this up-fitting initiative. Originally proposed one year ago, and made possible through funding from both the City of Vancouver and a dedicated group of individual donors, this project encompasses the soundproofing of our ceilings – minimizing noise transference from our upper administrative offices to the lower rehearsal hall (and vice-versa). It also involves additional acoustical improvements to our lower-level communal meeting spaces. This soundproofing offers the additional benefit of reducing shared ambient noise between our offices and those of our neighbours in the facility.

In addition to these upgrades, we’re also excited to see our new young artist coaching rooms take shape – just in time for the launch of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program this coming September!

Throughout the past week, contractors, construction crew members and other workers have been busy in the lower-level of our space, working in concert with VO staff to bring our vision to life. It’s exciting seeing (and hearing) their work; it’s tangible representation of the company’s continued growth and transformation as we adjust to life in both a new facility and a new community.

We look forward to re-opening our doors to this community - when the dust settles and the contractors clear out, of course!

Joseph Bardsley
Development Manager, Grants & Proposals

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