Anne Cooper and George Abbott join the RSS choir on stage for a performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at the official opening of the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday

Anne Cooper and George Abbott join the RSS choir on stage for a performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at the official opening of the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday

Speeches and performances mark opening of Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre

BC Minister of Education George Abbott in attendance for official opening of Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.

A select group of Revelstokians got the first look at the new performing arts centre at the facility’s official opening Wednesday evening.

The theatre is open to the public tonight for an open house.

The 100-plus guests included city councillors, school district staff, school board trustees, teachers, principals, parents and more. They were joined by many other performers. The guest of honour was George Abbott, the B.C. Minister of Education, who travelled to Revelstoke for the opening.

They were treated to a series of speeches, followed by performances by students and community members.

“The theatre, as part of the Neighbourhood Learning Centre, is an example of what we always strive to do in the education system but don’t always achieve,” said Abbott. “That is to see an organic partnership between the community, parents, students and the school.”

Ministry, school district and city staff, as well as the Revelstoke Arts Council, were roundly thanked by the various speakers, which included Abbott, school board chair Alan Chell, Mayor David Raven, arts council president Carol Palladino, students Hannah Brackenbury and Adrien Maitre, and superintendent Anne Cooper.

Chell called the performing arts centre “a tremendous addition the community,” where Revelstoke’s arts community will be able to showcase itself.

“This theatre will allow these talents to be showcased to an even greater degree,” he said.

Mayor Raven said the theatre was an example of co-operation and drive in the community.

“And to you, the torch is yours now,” he said to the students in attendance. “We’ve done this for you, we’ve provided this facility. To all the other students that follow you I look forward to where you go with this in the future.”

Palladino said the arts council was pleased to be working on the management plan for the centre and that she hoped it becomes a community cultural space.

“I think its really important to understand that as beautiful as this building is, it’s what happens in here that really matters,” she said. “My hope for the future is that its well used. It belongs to the whole community.”

Brackenbury and Maitre echoed the sentiment that the theatre will finally provide students and the community with a proper venue.

“With our improved seating options attending a production will provide a more enjoyable experience and surely attract a broader audience,” said Brackenbury.

Added Maitre: “The quality of our theatre will now complement the hard work our music, choir and drama students have put in over the past years and years to come.”

Cooper thanked everyone involved in the project for their efforts. She called the theatre “breathtaking.”

“This resplendent facility anticipates untold opportunities to showcase talent in Revelstoke and maybe one day even my own talents in retirement – singing,” she said.

When the speeches finished, local talent got their first chance to use the theatre to showcase what Revelstoke has to offer. Attendees were treated to a series of performances by the Revelstoke Secondary School Senior Band, the Revelstoke Theatre Company, drama students and dancers. Abbott and Cooper joined the choir on stage for a singing of Leonard Cohen’s classic Hallelujah. It was a showcase of some of the talent at the school and in the community; as well as the features of the new facility.

The theatre is open tonight for a public open house, with performances every hour on the hour starting at 4 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

4 p.m. RSS drama performance, followed by a dance performance

5 p.m. RSS choir

6 p.m. RSS jazz band


7 p.m. Revelstoke Arts Council presents select acts from the award winning play Mending Fences.