Portal Players Dramatic Society board members and sponsors stand beside the Capitol Theatre’s new red curtains as they are installed on Wednesday, Aug. 29. From left to right: Brent Ronning (Portal Players president), Lily Diotte of Swale Rock Cafe, Nicole Saugstad (Port Players board member), Grant Gibson (Alberni Art Rave treasurer), Peter Wienold (Portal Players vice president) and Kathy Krznaric of Little Bavaria. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Port Alberni Portal Players raise new theatre curtains

Capitol Theatre’s new curtains a result of fundraising initiative

A brand new set of red curtains has been raised above the main stage of the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni.

“That’s $16,000 worth of fundraising,” said Brent Ronning, president of the Portal Players Dramatic Society, as he watched the curtains go up on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

The theatre’s new look is in large part due to Lily Diotte, the owner of the Swale Rock Cafe, who led a “Raise the Reds” campaign this year in order to support the Port Alberni arts district. Although the Portal Players have been running various fundraisers for the past three years, Diotte helped by reaching out to local businesses for donations. The theatre has received funds from community groups and businesses like the Alberni Valley Community Foundation, Alberni Art Rave and Little Bavaria Restaurant.

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

“This year, Lily Diotte really ran with it,” said Ronning.

The previous curtains were a crimson colour that didn’t match the walls of the theatre, and were beginning to show their age after more than 30 years on the stage. The curtains didn’t quite match up when they were closed, so stage crews often had to pin them together to close the gap in the middle, said Ronning.

Now, these new curtains are a darker red colour, and the tracking crosses over—leaving no gap between the closed curtains.

Ronning said the Raise the Reds campaign will continue, as they have not quite reached the $16,000 mark, and tax-deductible donations are “always welcome.” On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Portal Players will be celebrating their new curtains by holding a gala premier of their musical, Little Shop of Horrors. A $50 ticket will get you “a red carpet evening,” said Ronning, with appetizers and champagne and a $25 tax receipt.

The Portal Players will also be launching another sponsorship opportunity. Individuals will be able to become “patrons” by purchasing season tickets and a Portal Players membership, with tax-exempt receipts provided.

Tickets will be available at the Capitol Theatre box office this week.

The Portal Players board, meanwhile, is still considering what to do with the old curtains.

“We think we’re going to design some sort of memorabilia and keepsakes for people,” said Ronning.


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