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Letter: Turn down the noise


From Sept. 12 to 16 I performed a play in the Barbara Barrett Theatre in the basement of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

I was aware that a rock band was also contracted to perform in the main theatre above me on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 16, that the sounds of heavily amplified voices and electric basses might be a problem for me and my audiences below.       

However, the rock band was up there rehearsing just as loudly on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and Thursday, Sept. 14 as well. Had I known this I wouldn’t have signed to have them blaring away above me for four nights out of the five I had contracted to perform.

Was this routine negligence, routine malice or just routine policy on management’s part? It was certainly routine something.

The St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. In 50 years, the basement theatre hasn’t been insulated from loud events blaring away throughout the building.  

Neither has government thought, in all these 50 years, to exclude loud events.

Surely I am not the first to complain about this.

Here then, are some possible solutions: Arts and Culture Centre management/provincial government might a) throw out or turn down loud events, or b) insulate other performance/presentation spaces from them, or c) shut down the basement theatre, or d) change the name to the Noofy “Rock and Road House,” drop pretenses and just rake in money.

Doing b) would take money, but all the others options above would take only courage.

Most of us who’ve used the basement theatre — the Barbara Barrett Theatre — don’t mind the symphony, or Buddy Wasisame, or Javanese gamelan music, or even rock bands so long as we don’t have to hear them beyond the venue they’re playing in.

But why, after 50 years, do we have naturally loud rock bands playing in what we call our “Arts and Culture Centre,” anyway?  

 

Frank Holden
St. John’s

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