In the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula on the Island of Newfoundland you'll find the Southern Shore. Known throughout the region as the Irish Loop, it is an area rich in wildlife and scenic beauty.
"The Shore" was settled predominantly by Irish immigrants and is perhaps best known for its Irish ancestry which is still very evident in both dialect and tradition. All of the communities along the Southern Shore of the Avalon are steeped in history going back almost 500 years to when European fishermen used those ports for their summer bases.
In the heart of the Southern Shore is the Town of Ferryland, one of Newfoundland's most historic communities. It boasts a colourful history of battles, shipwrecks and marauding pirates.
The Southern Shore Folk Arts Council (SSFAC) was formed in 1995 with the mandate of preserving and promoting the unique culture and heritage of the Irish Loop Region. The organization is non-profit and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who along with staff have worked to bring this mandate to a reality.
One of the first priorities of the SSFAC was the revitalization of the Southern Shore Folk Festival which is known today as the annual Southern Shore Shamrock Festival. The Festival offers the best in Newfoundland / Irish music by featuring local and established performers.
In 1998, space was acquired in the historic Bernard Kavanagh Premises in order to pursue the organization's mandate of developing both performing and visual arts. The original two-storey was constructed in the 1920's and represents Newfoundland architecture for that era. A general store that supplied the community and surrounding settlements was its predominant usage. In the 1930's a larger building was constructed on the rear of the existing two-storey building which served as a salt fish receiving and packaging operation. Over the years, ownership and usage of the building changed a number of times, which is an interesting story in itself.
Consequently, the next major undertaking of the SSFAC was the restoration of the old original General Store Premises which started in 1999. During that summer, the first dinner theatre on the Southern Shore was started and operated for eleven years in that theatre.The long term plan was to develop a Regional Arts Centre by rehabilitating the complete waterfront premises. This restoration was started in 2007 and progressed until 2010. That year, a new, larger theatre room was opened to accommodate the larger audiences for the Southern Shore Dinner Theatre.
The Grand Opening of the Regional Arts Centre was held on May 28th, 2011. This event consisted of an open house showcasing the new Art Gallery followed by a special concert featuring Southern Shore artists and a dance.
The SSFAC is pleased to provide a quality facility to host the performing and visual arts. In addition, it is capable of providing space to host private and business functions. The aim of the SSFAC is to provide quality facilities, entertainment and service that will amount to pleasurable experiences for all patrons.
We invite you to join the celebration of our history and heritage with our Shamrock Festival, Summer Dinner Theatre, Tetley Tea Room and Special Events held throughout the year.