The E.A. Rawlinson Centre under new management

By Nigel Maxwell
December 14, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: December 18, 2017 - 9:03am

The couple responsible for essentially running the E.A. Rawlinson Centre since its inception, said it came as a complete shock when they were let go this week.

The city of Prince Albert has announced it will not be renewing its operating contract with Star Development, the company responsible for events at the centre for the better part of 14 years.

Star Development Owners Darren and Jillian McCaffery were given the bad news on Tuesday during a closed door meeting with the city. 

"We're still shocked and we're really disappointed by this decision, it totally came out of the blue," Jillian said. 

In addition to running events at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre - including the most recent production of Alice in Wonderland - Darren McCaffery helped design the actual building itself.

McCaffery, who fought back tears during her conversation with paNOW, said she and her husband grew quite attached to the centre over the years and to the people who performed there. She said she is very concerned now what will happen with the Broadway North Program, a theatre training program teaching students dance, music, and drama.

"We've dedicated so much of our time, and our life, and our soul, and our heart to that program, and the children and parents. That's where our concerns are at the moment,” she said. 

McCaffery said she wished to reserve any further comment on her future plans until she and her husband had more of a chance to process the news, reiterating they are both still quite emotional.

According to a press release issued by the city to the media on Thursday, an interim management plan has been developed that will allow the E.A. Rawlinson Centre to operate until such time as a permanent operator is named. Director of Community Services Jody Boulet told paNOW all events will continue as scheduled including private functions.

When asked why the city did not renew Star Development's contract, Boulet said he could not give specifics.

"We did complete an internal review as we do on an annual basis with all our contracts, and certainly some of those details are remaining at this point confidential between both parties," he said.

The city, which owns the facility, took over operation of the Centre from the Prince Albert Arts Board in 2015, retaining Star Development as the contracted operator.

“We certainly appreciate the years of service of Star Development. The company has done some great things at the centre to transform that into a first class facility,” Boulet said.


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