July 5th, 1959 was the opening day of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver and a few weeks later Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II personally gave it her name. The venue accommodates 2,781 patrons and over the years it has hosted some of the world’s greatest plays, musicals, operas, ballets and concerts.
“Vancouverites responded proudly to the new building and boasted it was ‘one of the world’s finest theatres’ and ‘lifted this city into the realm of urban sophistication.’
The impact of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the local live entertainment scene was profound. By 1962, major users of the QET included the newly formed Vancouver Opera Association, as well as the Vancouver International Festival, the Vancouver Symphony Society, World Adventure Tours and Famous Artists Limited run by impresario Hugh Pickett. For the first time, big roadshows such as My Fair Lady, came to Vancouver. The city’s proximity to Seattle proved advantageous as American promoters were able to extend western tours of Broadway shows with a booking at the QET.” [source: City of Vancouver]
It is one of Vancouver’s civic theatres (along with the Orpheum and the Vancouver Playhouse) and is home to resident companies, the Vancouver Opera and Ballet BC. This summer you can check out Mamma Mia!, Janet Jackson, and The Wiggles on stage. In November, the Vancouver Christmas Market will return to the QET plaza for its second year.