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Academy Theatre rebrands following substantial donation

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Lindsay’s Academy Theatre is rebranding, following a large donation from a development company.

On Tuesday, December 7th, it was announced the theatre would be renamed the FLATO Academy Theatre Lindsay, following a donation commitment of $1.375 million over 15 years from Flato developments.

Flato President Shakir Rehmatullah explained to The Standard why the company decided to invest in this local theatre.

“At Flato, we believe in working with the communities where we build, and we believe in giving back to the communities. We don’t call ourselves home builders; we call ourselves community builders. Community building is way more than just building lots of homes on a piece of land. You have to go out and support your local hospitals, you have to support local theatres, and anything homeowners will need in the community,” he said.

In a press release, Academy Theatre Board Chairman Mike Piggott discussed what this donation means to the theatre.

“The Academy Theatre is more than just a venue. With year-round programming [which] inspires, educates and celebrates some of the most talented local and international entertainers, we truly offer something for everyone,” he stated. “This investment recognizes the social, cultural and economic benefits of having such an esteemed venue in the community, and we are thrilled to be working with Shakir and his team at FLATO. We’re excited to see the theatre thrive in the years ahead.”

In a statement, Mayor Andy Letham said, this donation is important to help the arts and culture sector grow in the community.

“This exciting news comes at a time when our arts and culture community is struggling to rebound from the pandemic,” he said. “The long-term investment by FLATO will be appreciated by residents across Kawartha Lakes and visitors who frequent the Academy Theatre. It’s a great example of community-building.”

However, Mr. Rehmatullah stressed, Flato wouldn’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of the theatre.

“We will have one person on the [theatre’s] board. That person would be like any other board member, providing their opinions and ideas to the board, and then it would be up to the board to decide what they want to do. But we’re not getting involved in day-to-day business. We are just the well-wishers of the theatre. And, like I informed people in my speech that night, by changing the name of the theatre, the heritage and the history of the theatre are not changing. The way the theatre works is not changing. The staff is not changing.”

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