Iconic usher Josh Wapp thinks that new or renewed Nelson Civic Theatre membership cards are a must for every wallet.

Membership drive for Civic Theatre begins

This month, the Civic Theatre kicks off its annual membership drive, a chance for returning and new members to win prizes.

Not so long ago a night at the movies was a wistful memory. But the community rallied to bring the big screen back. Now, more than 2,400 people belong to the Nelson Civic Theatre Society, enjoying Hollywood and indie films every week with friends and family. And it’s time to renew.

This month, the Civic Theatre kicks off its annual membership drive, a chance for returning and new members to win prizes, enjoy member benefits, and join what might be the friendliest club in town.

“It’s gratifying to see so many people coming out and enjoying themselves,” said society president Marilyn Mint. “Attendance is about 25 per cent higher than the industry average. That means people here really love their theatre.”

At the beginning, people who joined took a leap of faith, explained Mint. “We didn’t know what the member benefits would be, or even when we could start showing films.”

There was a lot to be done: hundreds of volunteers cleaned, painted, installed seating, and more. Local businesses and media were supportive, and granting agencies generous; in February 2013 the first film was shown in more than two years, on the old projector. After a successful fundraising campaign in which $185,000 was raised locally, the Civic went fully digital last June.

Now, the Civic shows new films five days per week, with a full schedule of community events on the remaining days, including film, theatre, music, and special presentations.

“There’s more reason than ever to belong,” says Mint.

Adult memberships are $25 annually; senior are $20, youth are $15, and a child membership is $5. Member benefits include a break at the box office, a vote at the AGM, and free member movie Mondays several times per year.

New memberships and renewals purchased between May 16 and 31 are eligible for “Save my Seat!” prize packages consisting of five nights out for two at the movies with large popcorn and front row balcony reserved seating.

There are additional weekly draws for prizes starting June 1 until July 10.

There’s another benefit to belonging. “Our membership numbers carry a lot of weight with funding agencies,” explains Mint. “We estimate that every $1 in membership translates into $5 in funding.”

That’s a great help towards continued improvements and the Society’s ultimate goal of three theatre spaces, which will mean more community use and greater flexibility in programming.

Those who purchased memberships after June 2013 can still renew during the drive to be eligible for prizes, with their memberships forward-dated for one year from original purchase.

Look for Membership Drive tables at the Civic Theatre, Kootenay Co-op, and Save-On Foods (where membership forms can be dropped off any time). Memberships can also be purchased online at www.civictheatre.ca.

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