The Capitol Theatre received a standing ovation on Monday as all the seats were removed from the theatre in anticipation of renovations this summer.
Theatre manager Elliot Drew, Portal Players Dramatic Society member Chris Arthurs and summer student Nick Barrett (also a PPDS member) removed 275 original theatre seats on Monday.
“Some of the screws are literally 75 years old,” Drew said, which presented a challenge on some of the seats because the screws were worn smooth in some areas.
Seventy-five years ago, when the Capitol first opened its doors, these same seats awaited patrons. Made in Waterloo, Ont.., by the Globe Furniture Company (which operated until 1960), these art-deco pieces have seen a lot of use.
The theatre has purchased new seats from the Galaxy Theatre in Campbell River, which closed down last year. Volunteers in the Alberni Valley have cleaned the new seats and they received new paint jobs courtesy of Harbour View Collision and NAPA Auto Parts.
Barrett anticipated the new seats would be installed by late July.
Portal Players Dramatic Society, which owns the theatre, has applied for several government grants to assist in the renovations, Drew said. While the floor will be sanded, refinished and stained, they also want to do some drywall touchups and painting.
If grant money is available, Portal Players would like to install a new lighting rig for front of house lighting that would enable both stage productions and concerts to have separate lighting. It would also double the lighting capacity, Drew said.
“It will allow us a lot more flexibility in our rental schedule,” he added.
Other upgrades on the wish list include a new sound system, finishing the box office and the bar upstairs, and replacing the red curtains in the theatre.
Portal Players have already received financial assistance from the Alberni Valley Foundation and the Lions Club to install a sound system for the hearing impaired.
“We have come a long way with making the Capitol a great facility,” Portal Players president Brent Ronning said in a press release. “Now we need to finish off these last few projects and bring the building up to a technical standard that will attract more first-class entertainment to the Valley.
“The money raised by selling the old seats will help us reach that goal.”
The old theatre seats will be available for sale on Monday, July 4. Rows of four cost $50, cash and carry. For more information, please call Drew at the theatre at 250-723-1195 or go online to www.atthecapitol.org.