Gate House Theatre President Gord Oppen was thrilled to meet the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
The Gate House Theatre was one of the recipients of the Lieutenant Governor’s Platinum Jubilee Arts and Music Awards, and Oppen attended the celebration ceremony in person on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in Victoria.
Oppen said the overall experience of receiving the award on behalf of the theatre was “overwhelming” and “humbling,” noting that he felt they were “very fortunate to have had Gaby Wickstrom and James Furney both nominate us for the award.”
Port McNeill is a rural community known more for its outdoor recreation than its arts and culture scene, and Oppen said he was proud of how the theatre provides a platform for young adults “to have the opportunity to express their artistic selves, and the theatre accomplishes that in numerous different ways through acting, music, and other efforts.”
The Gate House Theatre doesn’t have any paid employees and is run by a volunteer board, “and to just be included in the same company as other companies like the Belfry Theatre was flattering,” Oppen stated. “It was fantastic to be recognized for having an impact even though we’re located in a smaller, more rural area.”
He also got to meet Dr. Bonnie Henry at the ceremony, which was another big highlight from the event.
“I thanked her for getting us through perhaps the most stressful part of our lives, and I let her know how grateful we were for her guidance,” he said when asked what the two of them talked about.
Above all else, Oppen wanted to say that “the fact the community put us forward for nomination was a wonderful statement on what the Gate House means to the Town of Port McNeill.”
The Lieutenant Governor’s Arts and Music Awards are one-time awards that recognize individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, community engagement, passion or commitment to fostering and mentoring others in the fields of visual arts, music or performance. The awards were open to any British Columbian or B.C.-based individual, group or organization.
The selection committee included representation by esteemed community leaders in visual arts, music and performing arts. Each award recipient received a certificate of acknowledgment and a monetary gift recognizing their achievement.