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’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read