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$44,900 OTF Grant Puts Theatre Back on the Boards

From Left to Right: Mayor Lynn Dollin, Sue Bennett (SST Treasurer), Nancy Chapple Smokler (SST President), Gary Marshall (OTF Volunteer), Rob Nicol (Councillor, Ward 7), Dan Galea (SST Secretary), George Gibson (SST Vice President), Candy Pryce (SST Box Office Manager), Andrea Khanjin, MPP Barrie-Innisfil


Cookstown, ON – On Thursday, local MPP Andrea Khanjin and Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer Gary Marshall met with the team at South Simcoe Theatre (SST) to hear more about the impact that a $44,900 Resilient Communities Fund grant will have on its 2022-23 season. The OTF grant awarded earlier this year will help support a variety of projects at the theatre, which was shuttered from March 2020 to March 2022.

"The South Simcoe Theatre is a heritage site and community gem, bringing generations of families together. This Resilient Communities Fund grant will subsidize new technology like lighting and a ticketing system, which will ultimately result in providing multiple opportunities for both performers and audiences alike in our region as the theatre can begin to continue to operate at its highest level," said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. "Self-empowerment can be the result of community theatre, which might give someone the experience they need in order to make a difference in the world and lives of others."

The South Simcoe Theatre has been in operation since the 1966/67 season and its home has been the Old Town Hall in Cookstown since 1983. Like many arts organizations, the popular community theatre group was hit hard by the pandemic and was unable to mount any in-person productions for a full two years. The Resilient Communities Fund grant will allow the theatre to fund a number of projects, including the purchase of a new online ticketing system and new technology for the lighting and sound booth, upgrade the website, help with staffing costs for a media coordinator position, provide mentorship opportunities and help with key operational costs.

"The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be overstated,” said Nancy Chapple Smokler, President of the Board. “SST is an integral part of the local community and attracts audiences from around the region as well as the GTA. This grant gives us the freedom to implement a number of new services that would otherwise have been impossible given the financial losses we suffered during the two-year closure. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue to provide great community theatre in Cookstown with the support of this grant”.

The South Simcoe Theatre is busy preparing for the launch of its 2022-23 season in November which will feature a full slate of productions for the first time since March 2020. To learn more about their upcoming season, as well as how to become a volunteer, please visit their website at

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Since 2020, OTF has supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit to learn more.


Organization Contact for Media Inquiries:

Nancy Chapple Smokler

The South Simcoe Theatre

416-678-4433 |


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