Elliot Drew (Treasurer on the Portal Players Dramatic Society Board of Directors) and Lily Diotte (owner of Swale Rock Cafe) are hoping to replace the Capitol Theatre’s aging red curtains. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni hopes to ‘raise the reds’

Lily Diotte of Swale Rock Cafe is fundraising to replace the theatre’s red curtains

When Lily Diotte, owner of the Swale Rock Cafe, learned that the Capitol Theatre was in need of a new set of red curtains, she decided to take on a fundraising project herself.

“I thought it was a very good project to fundraise for,” said Diotte. “It’s best to keep the theatre updated and growing.”

The theatre’s current red curtains are older than the Portal Players Dramatic Society, which is in its 30th year of owning the theatre. A major renovation project in 2004 saw the installation of an electrical closing system for the curtains, but the fabric itself was not changed.

The age is starting to show, as the red velvet material is beginning to shred and the curtains don’t close completely.

The cost for replacement is estimated at $15,000 (for the curtains, as well as upgrading the tracking and closing system). The Capitol Theatre has raised $5,000 so far, and a donor has agreed to donate another $5,000. Diotte hopes to raise the remaining $5,000 through her “Raise the Reds” campaign.

She has raised $1,500 so far through local businesses and donors. Businesses such as Gayle’s Fashions and Little Bavaria have already gotten on board, and Diotte is planning a “red carpet” reward for individuals who donate $100 or more—including free tickets to a show next season.

“The theatre’s been here a long time,” said Diotte. “I’d like to see it continue.”

Portal Players board of directors treasurer Elliot Drew said the Players have been slowly saving for the cost of replacement over the last three years, but it is a large task because the theatre is a volunteer-run organization.

“It survives off of its ticket sales,” Drew explained. “It’s hard getting the money we need to operate, let alone trying to fundraise for other projects.”

The Portal Players just finished a successful run of the comedy The Complete Works of Shakespeare. On Sunday, June 3, the Capitol Glee & Wee Glee Singers and the Capitol Sea Notes Chorus will put on a musical production called What a Feeling! Drew hopes to install the new curtains this summer during the off-season.

“We strive to deliver the best we can,” said Drew. “The more people who attend, the higher we can set the bar. We’re sometimes curtailed by the resources we have to put in.”

Diotte is a frequent theatre-goer herself, and wants to see the arts district in Port Alberni expand and grow. Keeping the local theatre up-to-date, she said, is just one part of this.

“Port Alberni has a lot of artistic and creative people who are willing to give up their time,” she said.

“That’s why we call it the community with a heart,” added Drew. “There are so many people who, when called upon, go out of their way to help. Having Lily organize this has been absolutely amazing for us,” he added. “It’s a gift.”

The Capitol Theatre will kick off a new season in October with a production of Little Shop of Horrors—hopefully with a new set of red curtains.

“We’re very excited to open those for the first time,” said Drew.

If you are interested in contributing to the Raise the Reds cause, you can donate at Swale Rock Cafe (5328 Argyle St.) or the nearby Koliber Gifts (located around the corner from the Swale Rock). Tax deductible receipts are available for donations of $100 or more. You can also donate at the Capitol Theatre box office (open Monday-Thursday from 3-6 p.m., corner of Argyle Street and Fourth Avenue) or contact Lily Diotte at 250-723-8420 to get involved.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni walks for World Food Day

John Paul II Catholic School students walked to end world hunger

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land on Stamp Avenue for its expansion

Two Port Alberni cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Leaf Compassion and Cannabis Club ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

ELECTION 2018: Homeless residents can vote too

Port Alberni Shelter Society offers use of address, more help for homeless to vote

Learn about ocean science aboard a Canadian Coast Guard ship

Ship will be docked in Port Alberni on Oct. 18 and 19

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Bernardo-like sexual deviancy poorly understood, expert says

What exactly causes such deviance is not known but some evidence exists of physical brain damage to the front part of the brain

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Former B.C. cop sentenced to jail ‘in the community’ after caught in Creep Catchers sting

Dario Devic pleaded guilty after getting caught up in Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

Most Read