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An investment in theatre – and Charlottetown

Joan, left, and Regis Duffy donated $100,000 to the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown to ensure the stage production Evangeline could go ahead.

Nathan Rochford

The Donors: Regis and Joan Duffy

The Gift: $100,000

The Cause: Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown

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The Reason: To help stage a production of the musical Evangeline

When the Confederation Centre of the Arts decided to mount an ambitious production of the Canadian musical Evangeline this summer, the decision was not taken lightly.

The production would cost $1.5-million and involve a cast of more than 30 performers, a daunting challenge for a centre that derives much of its revenue from ticket sales.

Then Charlottetown businessman Regis Duffy decided to get involved. He and his wife, Joan, donated $100,000, helping to ensure the production went ahead.

"The theatre is an important part of the business activity around Charlottetown and I'm always interested in promoting that," Mr. Duffy said from his home in Charlottetown.

"The theatre has a national mandate to put Canadian plays on stage, so that's a difficult task."

Mr. Duffy, a long-time patron of the centre, has been a big part of many Charlottetown institutions over the years. He was the first dean of science at the University of Prince Edward Island in 1969 and created Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd., maker of pharmaceutical ingredients, while working at the university. He sold the company years ago and donated $2-million to the university. He also helped raise $50-million for UPEI.

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"We have some cash to move around, that's what we're doing," Mr. Duffy said in reference to his many donations. "If the stock market does well, we may give a little bit more away."

Evangeline , which was written by Ted Dykstra and runs until Sept. 28, has proven to be a huge hit for the centre, drawing big audiences and rave reviews. And that, for Mr. Duffy, is return enough on his gift.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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