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.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Police say false bomb threat came from computer and printer in the school

“The threat was a hoax by a student,” said Port McNeill RCMP.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles still undefeated, dominate Oceanside Generals in Port Hardy

Who can stop the North Island Bantam Eagles? The answer so far this season is, well, no one.

VIDEO: North Island Atom Eagles tie Victoria Ice Hawks, fall in rematch

The North Island Atom Eagles will be back in league play action at home in January.

Strong winds expected to hit north, west Vancouver Island: Environment Canada

Environment Canada said southeast winds will reach speeds of 70 to 90 kilometres per hour

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end Island Highway car chase

Woman in her 30s detained after Tuesday afternoon incident in Lantzville

Most Read