Civic Theatre executive director Eleanor Stacey makes a presentation to members Sunday during the annual general meeting. Photo: Tyler Harper

Civic Theatre uses fundraising push to get back into black

The theatre rebounded after a big financial loss in 2018

A fundraising push has helped the Civic Theatre recover from a significant financial loss.

The theatre had $3,830 excess of revenue over expenditures for the year ending July 31, according to statements made public at its annual general meeting Sunday.

That marks a major turnaround from the previous year’s AGM when the theatre revealed it had lost $14,000.

Following that AGM, executive director Eleanor Stacey said the society decided to focus more on its fundraising efforts. That resulted in $87,019 earned through fundraising, an increase of $33,712 over the previous year that made the difference in keeping the theatre’s finances out of the red.

“This organization was built on the premise that it would be self funding when it got to three screens,” said Stacey.

“The journey to get to three screens has proven to be longer than perhaps was originally anticipated, which is okay because fundraising does take time and we do need to build reputation and build programs and services.”

The theatre, which completed a three-year business plan last year that made the case for a $4.5-million expansion to three screens, continues to struggle with just one screen.

Studios such as Disney only agree to allow blockbuster films like Captain Marvel or the upcoming Star Wars movie to run at theatres for extended lengths of time, which in turn limits what the Civic can offer.

Such restrictions led to a drop in movies shown at the Civic from 81 in 2018 to 65 this year. Box office gross revenue fell over $14,000, and the time taken up by Hollywood’s biggest movies meant revenue from people and groups renting the Civic also fell $11,000 over the previous year.

Stacey said more studios are asking for similar restrictions and increased ticket sale revenue, which means not every big film debuts in Nelson on time. She pointed to the recently released Frozen 2, which is currently showing in Castlegar but won’t debut at the Civic until mid-January.

“As a film gets older, it typically costs less,” she said. “We pay less in our box office split to the distributor, and they also require it to be engaged for a shorter period of time.”

Still, Stacey is optimistic about the future.

In January, the City of Nelson granted the theatre a $1-million line of credit that allowed it to apply for a $2.7-million grant from the federal government’s Invest in Canada infrastructure program.

Stacey said a decision on the theatre’s application is expected by the end of the year, and if it goes through the estimated completion date for construction will be the end of 2020.

If the theatre doesn’t get the grant, Stacey said there will be other options including re-applying for the program’s next intake.

“We’ll keep at it. We have a model that’s exciting, we have a membership that’s passionate about what we’re doing. If we don’t get the money it will be disappointing, but it is by no means in my mind a closed door.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay SAR crews rescue injured mountain biker near Rossland

Crews were called in to help after the biker seriously injured himself at around noon Saturday

Nelson teachers union president worried about members ahead of return to classes

Carla Wilson says there are a lot of questions remaining

Pop-up drive-in theatre shows Only in Nelson

The event was a collaboration between the Civic Theatre and Kootenay Co-op Radio

Suspected fentanyl and cocaine seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read