The TNT Young Company’s annual search for a summer home has ended with a temporary stage set up at the former Elks Hall, 822 Stanley Street.
The youth theatre program, produced by The Nelson History Theatre’s Richard Rowberry, has presented plays performed by university level actors for the past 15 years, several of whom have gone on to successful professional careers. Rowberry estimates that over the years his summer program has contributed almost $200,000 to young participants through student employment program wages and additional performance fees.
“I’ve had an eye on the Elks Hall for a while now,” he said, “most recently when it was used by The Kootenay Christian Fellowship for Our Daily Bread. When I saw that they had moved I asked Jim Reimer about it and he was happy to rent it to us. It’s actually a very good space for a small theatre.”
“It might be controversial to say so,” Rowberry adds, “but Nelson doesn’t really have a proper theatre and we could certainly use one. The Capitol is really a concert hall and while I have and will do plays there, it’s better suited to classic three-acters and, of course musicals, but not contemporary plays like the ones I put on at the TNT Playhouse before the building was sold. As I think anyone who saw some of the pieces we did there will agree, modern theatre relies on a more intimate connection between audience and performers.”
The Elks Hall, he points out with a laugh, is for sale and he would be happy to discuss ways and means of creating an 80-seat theatre there with any local philanthropist having a quarter of a million dollars burning a hole in his or her pocket.
“It’s got a nice open space, a kitchen, potential green room and storage areas, a loft, office space, and a high ceiling — what more could a girl ask for?”
In the meantime, the TNT Young Company will be presenting Alberta playwright Stephen Massicotte’s play Mary’s Wedding there on the weekends of August 16 and 23. Directed by Stephen Fowler, it stars Gus Fowler and Sarah Jane Hicks.