Major Renovations Underway at Terrace's REM Lee Theatre

John Crawford

Work is underway to transform Terrace's REM Lee Theatre into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.


A major fundraising effort by the "Theatre Alive" Society managed to exceed its target this past winter -- and now it's full speed ahead.

Theatre Coordinator Nancy Stone Archer said the first order of business is to replace the aging seats and carpets inside the building with something that's much more modern -- and much more comfortable.

"When we asked patrons: what would you like to see done in the theatre? often it was the seats -- so that was where we chose to make a visual impact for our audience," she explained.


[CFTK Photo:  Nancy Stone Archer -- by Hillary Johnson]

The Theatre Alive Society was formed a few years ago to raise the over $400,000 necessary to upgrade, not only the seating, but also the lighting and soundboard, to turn the school-district-owned facility into something they hope will wow the community.

Theatre Alive chair Mary Ann Lawrence says that's only fair -- since the community has wowed her group:  "so it's been a massive project and people have worked hard but we've had the community with us the whole time, it's been unbelievable and thus it begins."


[CFTK Photo:  Mary Ann Lawrence -- by Hillary Johnson]

In addition to community donations -- from businesses and individuals -- the group also received a $199,000 grant from the federal government and money from the BC Rural Dividend Fund and the Terrace Community Foundation.

They also raised over $25,000 through a couple of fundraising shows held at the theatre.

Donors will be recognized on a display board which will replace the Theatre Alive thermometer inside the building.

Some of the technical aspects of the theatre have already been upgraded, such as the soundboard and lightboard -- including the facility's first moving light -- but none of this has been installed because they didn't want it covered in dust, created when the carpets and seating are installed -- and that's a pretty major job.

But the school district maintenance crew expects to have it done by mid-September -- and the society can't wait to see how it all looks.

Because as Mary Ann Lawrence says, there aren't many segments of the local community who don't make use of the REM Lee Theatre

"We have a huge art foundation in this community and this will be the home for them," she said.

[Reported by Hillary Johnson]

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