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.

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

 

Just Posted

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

NDP pushing for 10 days of paid sick days for all working Canadians

NDP has made the issue a requirement for their support of the Liberal government

No plans to rebuild Hardy Bay Industrial Centre after fire, owner says

A massive fire burnt down the old building in April

Port Hardy Fire Rescue adapts to new realities amidst COVID-19

Don’t forget to follow Port Hardy Fire Rescue on Facebook.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

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

Most Read