In the list of Hamilton venues that have recently closed, don’t count the Pearl Company out quite yet.
“We’re not here to say goodbye.” Gary Santucci, co-founder of the Pearl Company announced via video today. “We’re here to say we’re opening up again.”
The Hamilton venue and arts incubator has been on quite a roller coaster over the past several years. In October 2018, the Company announced their impending closure pending a sale of the building. After an initial sale fell through, the venue announced they would continue to operate for as long as possible. In December 2019, the building was sold. A subsequent announcement on the Pearl Company website by co-founder Barbara Milne read “We are expecting to finish our run June 30.”
When the pandemic paused activities, it seemed like the venue’s end date had been expedited.
By February 2020, the owner of the building had submitted an application to the City of Hamilton’s Committee of Adjustment to convert the three-story building into sixteen residential units with the potential of operating the conversion as a housing co-op. Earlier this summer, the application was approved for conversion into fifteen affordable homes for Indigenous families by Sacajawea Nonprofit Housing. By July, Emerson Arts’ production of Mom’s Moving had been announced as the final show in the space.
While there are no official details as to the status of the conversion or sale, Santucci notes that the Company’s latest reopening is due to the passion and vision of Pamela Blackwood-Marques and Sue Hawthorne who “could not see the Pearl Company close forever.” The two presented Santucci with an opportunity to keep the building open as a performance space.
“It’s a challenging time, especially now in Hamilton where all the great venues are disappearing and I couldn’t see this happen to the Pearl Company.” says Santucci. “It has been my home and creative place for so many years.”
The latest iteration of the Pearl Company has a target opening date of September 2023. In the meantime, Santucci plans to move all of the Company’s assets, including lighting, seating and equipment into temporary storage. He invites volunteers to join him at the Pearl Company on Stephen Street on September 20 and 21 to assist with the move.
While waiting for the building to be ready for performances again, the Pearl Company will restart their programming in a location still to be announced.