The Gail Asper Performing Arts Hall was officially named Tuesday morning as philanthropists Gail Asper and Michael Paterson presented a $2 million gift to the University of Manitoba.
The gift supports the Taché Arts Project, which helps the building on the Fort Garry campus become a multi-disciplinary home for art, music, and theatre programs, the university said in a news release.
In recognition of this gift, the university has named the theatre facilities, which encompass the John J. Conklin Theatre and state-of-the-art set, prop and costume shops, as the Gail Asper Performing Arts Hall.
Asper told the ceremony: "When Mike and I learned about the Taché Arts Project, we were inspired. Here was this incredible opportunity for us to contribute to a theatre program―so close to my heart―that has enriched our arts community for years. It is our hope that this facility will encourage students to embark on their own journey of self-discovery, and help enrich the arts and theatre community here on campus and throughout the province for years to come."
As a student at the University of Manitoba, Asper was involved in many productions by the Black Hole Theatre Company, which still uses this space.
University president David Barnard noted: "Here, at the Gail Asper Performing Arts Hall, theatre students will learn about set design and lighting composition, discover their voices, and create stories that captivate the heart, challenge the mind, and breathe life into our campus community and beyond. Indeed, this venue is the perfect physical representation of one of our key priorities at the U of M --- community engagement."