PORT McNEILL — A large turnout made the grand re-opening of Port McNeill’s theatre a success Friday.
Founding members of the Gate House Community Association hope the people will keep coming out.
The non-profit society recently took over the former Pioneer Theatre and used the town’s Canada Day celebration to unveil its new look and introduce the new proprietors.
“We hope this theatre will be a gathering place for all those interested in the arts,” said Terry Ruth Eissfeldt, who was joined by founding society members Chris and Karen Stewart, Kathy Martin and Mei-Ling Trevor for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We hereby declare the Gate House Theatre open,” Eissfeldt said with a snip of the scissors.
The event featured three cakes decorated with the association’s name and logo, a sign-up sheet for residents interested in joining the society, and brochures advertising its first planned activity — a Drama Day Camp for youths aged 6-12 the first week of August.
After the festivities, patrons moved into the 258-seat theatre to watch Rio, the animated family film. A second feature, the action film Sucker Punch, followed.
Gate House Community Association will continue to present three movies each week. Tuesday’s will be given to classic movie night, with monthly themes. This month’s theme is baseball, and the society kicked off the schedule with Pride of the Yankees earlier this week.
Pre-release DVD movies will be shown each Friday and a family movie will be offered as a matinee each Saturday at 2 p.m.
But the Gate House Association wants the theatre to be much more than a part-time movie theatre. The group’s mission is to promote an appreciation for the arts including, but not limited to, drama, film, music, dance, visual and written arts; to assist in celebrating local and visiting artists; to encourage education in the arts; and to develop regular exposure to the arts.
Eissfeldt said the society hopes to draw concerts, theatre productions and dance shows, as well as continue the theatre’s relationship with Missoula Children’s Theatre established under previous proprietor Steve Jackman.
Eissfeldt drew a round of applause when she suggested the society would explore working with North Island Concert Society to bring some of its annual concert season events, currenly held at Port Hardy Civic Centre, to the theatre.
The Drama Day Camp will be held Aug. 1-5 at the theatre and provide youths an introduction to acting. The cost is $120 per student, with sessions from 9:30 a.m.-noon for ages 6-8 and from 1:30-4 p.m. for ages 9-12. To register, call 250-956-2090.
More information and movie listings are available at gatehouseca.org.