TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO                                Terry Ruth Eissfeldt has been the driving force behind the Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill since it opened in 2011.

TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO Terry Ruth Eissfeldt has been the driving force behind the Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill since it opened in 2011.

Gate House Theatre brings the dramatic arts to Port McNeill

“My husband and I view this as our legacy — I believe a town without arts is black and white.”

The Gate House Theatre has been the heart and soul of Port McNeill’s arts scene since it first opened in 2011.

The theatre is run by Terry Ruth Eissfeldt, who moved to Port McNeill in 1992 after her husband took a job with Canadian Helicopters (six months later he and a few other employees would go on to start their own successful business called West Coast Helicopters).

Eissfeldt was busy raising four children and teaching horseback riding in Port McNeill, but she said that ever since she can remember, she “has always wanted to be in theatre.”

Seeing Mary Poppins as a kid was her first big theatrical influence, and later on when she was in high school, “we had a theatre program and the first actual production I was in was the Music Man.”

Eissfeldt also performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, numerous musical reviews, and in her senior year, she had a role in Man of La Mancha.

“I have a lot of passions in life,” she laughed.

“Horses, music, theatre, writing — I wanted to do it all.”

In 2008, Eissfeldt decided to take a look at the property at #11-1705 Campbell Way, which was operating at the time as a movie theatre.

Eissfeldt debated turning it into a real theatre as a business venture, but it became obvious to her it would never be able to make it as an official business.

“It had to be a society, a charitable organization that ran this,” she said.

“Showing movies once a week is not going to make enough money to keep you afloat, but it will help you make some money to help support your society.”

The Gate House Community Association was then formed, with its purposes being:

To educate and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of performing and visual arts by providing performances of an artistic nature and by providing seminars on topics related to such performances;

To provide instructional seminars on topics related to the performing and visual arts; and

To educate the public in music, drama, film, dance, visual and written arts performance and composition through workshops and recitals.

Eissfeldt said the theatre fills “a huge need in the community,” adding, “we’re the only place offering a theatre arts program here. It’s not being offered in the schools, and we have 16 kids in our after school drama program — That to me is the greatest thing. It’s super rewarding when you see first time theatre people onstage and getting hooked on it.”

Above all else, “My husband and I view this as our legacy — I believe a town without arts is black and white. The arts bring colour, dimension, and texture to a community. The dramatic arts for me is a way of play, a way of exploration, and a way of bringing out the best in our community.”

Check out the Gate House Theatre online at gatehouseca.org and on Facebook.

 

Gate House Theatre brings the dramatic arts to Port McNeill

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read