By a matter of chance and not design, today’s edition throws a spotlight on a pair of Nelson cultural centrepieces: past, present and future.
In our cover story, you can read about the Capitol Theatre’s transformation from the brink of destruction to one of the most beloved stages in the interior of British Columbia. The story may be oft told, but our history wizard Greg Nesteroff once again brings to life an aspect of the tale most have forgotten.
In this story, we have the story about the Nelson Civic Theatre Society’s announcement that the fundraising target of $150,000 has been shattered. The grand total unveiled Wednesday night was $181,425 from its community challenge issued only a couple of months ago.
At this point it’s not fair to compare the two efforts when it comes to scope. The Capitol rebirth was a $1.2 million project ($2.1 million in 2013 dollars) and took six years. The Civic didn’t fall into such a state of disrepair and the dollar amount is not equal (the final Civic retool is pegged at $2.5 million).
A fairer comparison is the desire shown by those dedicated to enhancing culture and how this community gets behind it.
Nelson is special because we value what larger centres take for granted and hold onto that which makes us unique.
Did it make sense to sink millions into a grand public performance space in a town that was struggling just to stay afloat in the early 1980s? On paper, probably not. But those who believe in this town did it. When you can catch local theatre productions like Cabaret (end of May) and big time touring musical acts like Ziggy Marley (middle June) on a stage in a tiny rural outpost like Nelson, it makes perfect sense.
Same goes for the Civic. In this age of Netflix and mega-multiplexes, does it make sense to invest in the old fashioned movie theatre experience. Nelson has once again said: of course it does.
Twenty-five years from now the rebirth of the Civic Theatre will be celebrated. They can share the cake with the Capitol on its 50th.
For a video of the announcement on Wednesday click here.