New society to re-open Port McNeill theatre

PORT McNEILL — Three years ago, Port McNeill’s movie theatre was brought back into existence after being shuttered for nearly a quarter-century.

PORT McNEILL — Three years ago, Port McNeill’s movie theatre was brought back into existence after being shuttered for nearly a quarter-century.

A new non-profit society is making sure it stays open with an eye toward making the newly named Gatehouse Theatre a gathering place for residents interested in any form of the arts.

“People are really excited about this whole thing,” said Terry Ruth Eissfeldt of Gatehouse Community Association, a newly formed non-profit society that has taken over operation of the former Pioneer Theatre and will host a grand opening event tomorrow beginning at 4 p.m.

The grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting and cake, and be followed at 5 p.m. by the society’s first movie showing, Rio. A second movie, Sucker Punch, will be shown at 7:30 p.m.

Visitors at the opening can also find out more about Gatehouse Community Association and how to join the organization, which will operate as a non-profit society.

“The idea with the name of the association is that the gates are open for all; inclusivity is emphasized for every art form, and that people feel comfortable coming in.”

Beginning with tomorrow’s grand opening, the group plans to show movies three times a week. A “classic” movie will screen each Tuesday, a pre-DVD release movie every Friday evening, and a family-oriented matinee each Saturday afternoon. The Saturday matinee kicks off this weekend as well, with Win Win.

All movie tickets are $5, and the concession will be running.

In the future, Gatehouse plans to hold live theatre and hopes to host various organizations on the North Island in events ranging from theatre to concerts to dance recitals.

Previously, Eissfeldt ran Great Fish Productions, which put on dinner theatre, an Oktoberfest and themed dinners including a medieval feast and pirate feast.

The theatre was closed this spring by Steve Jackman, who purchased and re-opened the facility as Pioneer Theatre in March, 2008, for the first time since it was shut down in 1985.

While operating the theatre, Jackman showed DVD movies and Vancouver Canucks games, and hosted concerts, recitals, the Missoula Children’s Theatre and fund-raisers like the Rotary Club’s Polio Plus fashion show.

“I want to honour Steve for what he did and all the time and effort he put into this,” Eissfeldt said. “He put a lot of money in to bring it to code.”

Eissfeldt purchased Jackman’s digital projector, lights and sound equipment and said Gatehouse received a “very favourable” lease agreement on the building from General Properties, Inc.

Gatehouse will not continue liquor sales that Jackman had through a license in the theatre’s loft.

For the past two weeks, volunteer work parties have been working in the theatre, re-painting and remodeling the lobby and preparing it for tomorrow’s opening.

The Gatehouse Community Association includes founding members Chris and Karen Stewart, Kathy Martin and Mei Ling Trevor. For more information, call Eissfeldt at 250-956-2090 or email gatehousepm@gmail.com.

 

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