Nelson Civic Theatre project manager Roger Ley stands at the old concession stand that will be replace this fall

Nelson Civic Theatre to get new concession stand and air conditioner

The theatre society is also planning a huge two-month membership drive

Nelson Civic Theatre will soon get its first air conditioning unit, thanks to the overwhelming success of its concession upgrade campaign.

In February, the theatre set its sights on raising money for an $80,000 concession stand upgrade. It had a $50,000 grant from Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and needed to raise another $30,000 to move the project ahead.

The first month of fundraisers, which included the Nelson Hustle and a series of Oscar-nominated film screenings, brought the theatre about half-way to its goal. Organizers were still dreaming up creative ways to raise the remaining $15,000 when the approval letters from earlier grant applications started rolling in.

The theatre received $50,000 through the BC Creative Spaces program, $10,000 from the Vancouver Foundation, and at least $2,500 from ArtsVest.

“We definitely have enough to do the concession stand — and then some,” project manager Roger Ley said. “So, we’ve decided the next big thing the theatre needs is an air conditioner.”

Anyone who went to a movie screening last summer will recall how uncomfortably hot the theatre gets in June and August. The first new air conditioner (eventually the theatre will need four cooling units to maintain a consistent temperature) will be in place before the summer heat hits.

“It will create a much nicer environment for watching all the great summer blockbusters,” Ley said, citing examples of upcoming releases like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, and Godzilla.

The concession stand replacement is planned for this fall, when it’s easier for the theatre to be closed for a week. The next major project fundraising target will be for it’s multi-screen conversion, but according to Ley that too will wait until after the busy summer season.

In the short-term, the theatre will be focused on maintaining its membership numbers. Everyone who became a member of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society prior to its digital conversion — when all the early memberships were activated — will need to be renewed within the next month.

The theatre society is planning a huge two-month membership drive to entice early supporters to continue on as annual members.

“One of the things that really helped us when we were applying for these big grants was being able to say we have 2,000-plus members supporting this project,” Ley said. “We’re hoping that number isn’t going to fall, now that we need to ask everyone to renew their memberships.”

There are several incentives to being a Nelson Civic Theatre Society member, including discount movie tickets and free admission on Member Movie Mondays. But Ley said the best reason to become a member is that it allows you to make a contribution to the theatre.

“Membership sales are essentially another fundraising opportunity for the theatre,” he explained. “It’s a $25 donation [or $15 for youth and seniors] we can ask for every year to help support the ongoing success of the theatre.”

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