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Nelson’s civic theatre could show first film as early as February

Iconic usher Josh Wapp plays Santa at the Nelson Civic Theatre. The Society is accepting year-end donations from anyone seeking a charitable tax receipt. Donors who would like to check out the space can drop by the theatre December 20th between 4 and 8pm. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
Iconic usher Josh Wapp plays Santa at the Nelson Civic Theatre. The Society is accepting year-end donations from anyone seeking a charitable tax receipt. Donors who would like to check out the space can drop by the theatre December 20th between 4 and 8pm.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo

For the first time in over two years, the Civic Theatre could screen a film as early as February.

No dates have been set, no film has been chosen and right now, there are no seats to sit on but the Nelson Civic Theatre Society (NCTS) isn’t letting that hold them back.

“We recognize that the community would really like to start seeing things sooner rather than wait for a full renovation so we’re in the process of figuring out how best to do that,” says Anne DeGrace, Theatre Society president.

A massive clean-up involving professionals and volunteers is a first step. The lobby will be well on its renovated way and about 200 seats should be in place in the front part of the theatre – phew!

The old seats were sold off and the ones left behind by the previous proponents don’t fit a slanted floor. So, they need to be retrofitted, says DeGrace.

When people come to the Civic Theatre in February, the old projector and sound system will be used but as money is raised, a digital projector will be purchased and a surround sound system will be installed.

Ultimately, DeGrace explains, a three-screen theatre will give movie buffs even more access to shows. But the waiting game is soon over, she says.

“We’re going to use a staged approach as opposed to throwing the doors open to show you a beautiful new theatre,” says DeGrace. “We think that our community would like to be part of all of this in stages – that’s stages in terms of audience, in terms of volunteers, in terms of donors, in terms of everything. And that way it feels like the community is building its theatre together.”

As a non-profit organization, the NCTS is operating as a social enterprise, composed of movie lovers and community-minded citizens with a broad range of expertise and experience. There are currently 1,300 members.

In October, the City of Nelson gave the Society the green light to begin its work to renovate and reopen the theatre.

Today, NCTS is giving people three great reasons to get out the chequebook, says DeGrace, as The Nelson Civic Theatre Society accepts year-end donations – Invest locally. Save on your tax bill. And bring the big screen back.

Community members who wish to donate before the end of the year are encouraged to drop by the theatre Thursday, Dec. 20 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Donations made to the City of Nelson earmarked for the Nelson Civic Theatre are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

For this open house, people will see the theatre as is.

“It’s a great way for people who have been itching for the big screen—and who see the project as good for everyone—to invest in our community and save on their income tax,” says DeGrace. “We’re delighted that the City will accept donations in this way.”

An official open house will take place in the new year after more work has been completed.

“We’ll be holding an open house in January to launch our fundraising campaign, so curious folks can see the interior and what we have planned,” says DeGrace.

Being able to show films, sporting events on sattelite TV and even live performances out of the Metropolitan Opera is an achievable goal. It’s a fun project that has the community engaged because a movie theatre is for everyone regardless of their age or interests, DeGrace says.

“The thing about the theatre is that it’s for everybody,” she says. “People have really fond memories of the Civic Theatre and we’ve heard some of those memories – first kiss stories and those really heartwarming things. It’s always really engaged people and it’s been part of their lives.”

Donors unable to drop by the theatre on Dec. 20 may contact the Society at info@civictheatre.ca, or mail cheques payable to the City of Nelson marked as intended for the Civic Theatre to the City at Suite 101, 310 Ward St. Nelson BC V1L 5S4.

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