Vancouver History: The Stanley Theatre

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Ten years ago I first saw Hamlet at The Stanley Theatre and I have been meaning to go back ever since. I’m not sure why it takes us years and years to explore some of the greatest (and non-touristy) portions of our region but taking in a show at this historical venue is a must for any and all.

Photo credit: GusF on Flickr

Built in 1931 the theatre was “ultra-modern in every respect… …equipped with the latest for talking pictures and also a pipe organ.” [VancouverHistory] It was a landmark movie house until 1991 when it showed Fantasia for the last time. Closed for seven years and masterfully renovated to update its art deco style, it reopened as a 650-seat playhouse in 1998. “The restoration of the venue [received] a 1999 City of Vancouver Heritage Award.” [VancouverHistory]

In 1998 it became a venue for the Arts Club Theatre Company and took on the name, The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage with the addition of new sponsors. Now in its 44th season, the Arts Club is as much a staple in the city as The Stanley and thanks to them, John and I were able to take in The Producers yesterday afternoon.

It was a treat to finally make it back to The Stanley and the show almost had the matinee crowd rolling in the aisles with its witty tunes, gags, and the amazing voices of the cast. It gave me the kickstart I needed to begin enjoying more of the arts in this town and with the Arts Club presenting Les Miserables next season, it certainly won’t be another ten years before I return to the theatre.

Update: You can view more of my thoughts on the production in my E!Online guest post: Arts (a)Live in Vancouver.

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. A Favourite Movie Memory at the Stanley TheatreMonday, July 7th, 2008 — 9:27am PDT

    […] wrote a short history of the Stanley Theatre, and it reminded me of one of my favourite movie-going […]

  2. RaulMonday, July 7th, 2008 — 10:33am PDT

    Oh, The Stanley on Granville and almost 12th Avenue? I haven’t been there in ages, even when I lived literally a block away, I always forgot to go there 🙁 They always put great productions, though.

  3. teflonjediTuesday, July 8th, 2008 — 4:30am PDT

    I went to the Stanley Theatre twice, when I was young and it was still a movie theatre. The films? The Empire Strikes Back and Gandhi.

  4. Miss604Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 — 8:36am PDT

    @teflonjedi that’s pretty freakin’ awesome!
    @Raul we’ll have to go see a show sometime 🙂

  5. RaulTuesday, July 8th, 2008 — 2:26pm PDT

    I’m down with going to see a show, for sure.

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