Drive-in movies are coming to the north Island. (Port of Everett image)

Drive-in movies are coming to Port McNeill

Gate House Theatre expects to start running shows by September

Gate House Theatre is taking cinema to the streets.

The Port McNeill movie theater and performing arts space received a $15,000 grant from Island Coastal Economic Trust towards purchasing an outdoor movie projector, complete with an FM transmitter for sound. It wasn’t enough to cover the whole purchase, but with donations and contributions they got enough.

The grant was available for small businesses whose income had been disrupted by the coronavirus, to use towards generating a new income stream. For Gate House, a drive-in theatre was the obvious choice – it’s naturally socially distant, and Port McNeill has never had one before.

The system has been ordered and is en route from “somewhere far away,” said Cheryl Hamilton, who applied for the grant on behalf of Gate House. They expect it to arrive in late August, and to host the first outdoor movie in early September.

Hamilton said the frequency of shows will movies will depend on the popularity of the idea.

Old-school drive-in movies are hard to find — only three permanent sites exist in B.C. — but digital technology has made portable outdoor screens possible. They’ve become popular at public events used for movies, of course ads, and to stream community sporting events to spectators.

For now, Gate House will use the system the old-fashioned way – viewers ensconced in their cars, tuned into the FM radio for movie audio.

When the projector screen is not being used by Gate House, Hamilton sees an opportunity to rent out the fully mobile system to nearby towns or organizations.

With safe distancing and the finances taken care of, the weather will be Gate House’s biggest challenge. Sun, wind and rain can single-handedly derail an outdoor movie night.

READ MORE: Arts and tourism projects on Vancouver Island receive funding for restart initiatives

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arts and culture

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

Just Posted

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Drive-in movies are coming to Port McNeill

Gate House Theatre expects to start running shows by September

Building contract announced for Woss’s new library

Prefabricated 1,400-sq.ft. building planned for small community library

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Most Read