Building a Theatre

Over twenty years ago I was the President of Richmond Arts Council.  Richmond is a city south of and adjoining Vancouver B.C.

There were 23 groups attached to the Arts Council- potters, weavers, writers, artists, drama etc. affiliated with it and there were plans to build a theatre, The Gateway, and, as President I was in charge of it.

The Theatre Committee consisted of people who didn’t know much about the theatre world, and some of them made ridiculous suggestions.  One of these was that we should cut down the theatre’s size so as to save costs.  I replied that it sometimes cost less in the long run to build larger because of economy of scale and a larger audience would make it more financially viable, but the answer was that oh! well, we’ll just have to have two performances instead of one.  No thought of having to pay two nights hotel, two fees and two subsistance costs. There were many other stupid suggestions that I had to battle with plus all the financing etc. but somehow or other the whole thing came together, the Theatre was built and we handed it over to a Theatre Committee.

Plans for Opening Night were made, and the Committee in its wisdom decided that there were to be no invitees- all seats were to be paid for except for the Mayor, but he would have to pay for the Mayoress!

Needless to say, I was not invited but I was really pleased to see the Theatre up and running and glad that now I was able to wash my hands of the whole venture.

Published in: on November 1, 2007 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Love Builds a Concert Hall

I met Don and Janette Chrysler  about ten years ago in Sooke, British Columbia, Canada. Don was a very successful business man and Janette a very fine ‘cellist.  They came from Texas and soon became interested in Canadian musical life.  They were very attached to each other and Don was especially fond of hearing Janette play.  One of his favourites was the Duetto for’cello and bass by Rossini which we recorded together and will be released on my new CD which is coming out soon.

Everywhere that Janette performed Don would drive her there and carry the ‘cello.  One day, he told me that he was going to build a concert hall for “my Janette”. I wondered what form it would take but when completed it boasted a bathroom with a jetted tub, Murphy beds and a kitchen area- most impressive, but the great thing about it was that it held 120 people, was finished in exotic woods and the acoustics were wonderful.  Many a soiree has been held there and also young up and coming performers are given an opportunity to debut.

I look back on some of my past efforts to build theatres, new arts centres etc.  I always had to contend with naysayers, fundraising and red tape;  perhaps I should devote another blog to my experiences.  With Don there was none of this, he just gave the order and it was built!

Published in: on November 1, 2007 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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