B.C. theatre confronts darkish previous with reconciliation

B.C. theatre confronts darkish previous with reconciliation

From the forest murals on its wall to the common ruby crimson seats, Powell River’s Patricia Theatre is steeped in local heritage. 

The theatre, which opened in 1913 and moved to its current web site in 1928, demonstrates what daily life was like in Powell River many a long time in the past – and that includes a heritage of segregation. 

For Laura Wilson, the Patricia’s theatre supervisor, remaining honest about that heritage has led to open discussions and reconciliation initiatives with the nearby Indigenous neighborhood. 
Wilson spoke to CBC’s On The Island in a special dwell broadcast from the theatre to highlight its distinctive heritage and the improvements that have been manufactured. 

This interview has been edited for duration and clarity.

LISTEN | The Patricia Theatre’s supervisor Laura Wilson speaks about the heritage:

On The Island5:58Background on film and in motion – we broadcast for the Patricia Theatre in Powell River

Gregor Craigie spoke with Laura Wilson, the theatre supervisor of the Patricia theatre in Powell River.

What position has the theatre played in the community because it first opened? 

On the heels of the mill city becoming established below in the traditional Tis’kwat village of the Tla’amin Country, they have been truly striving to make some form of amusement for the mill personnel. 

So this was an crucial spot for the community and regrettably it was a location that highlighted the kind of segregation that was developing all over the place. 

But in the course of the many years this has been the only theatre in this article in city. So as the city grew, it hung on and nevertheless is a centre for a ton of group creating and relationship. 

Can you tell us about the record of segregation in the theatre? 

This individual developing, as lots of more mature theatres and auditoriums, has a balcony.

Up right up until the previous pair of decades, there had been it’s possible 25 seats up in the balcony — compared with 250 down in the auditorium — and there was a independent entrance you experienced to use to walk up the stairs to the second flooring. 

That was the place the regional country was relegated. So, if there was not a seat up there, of individuals 25 seats, they were being turned absent, even if there were being seats in the theatre.

A white screen is lit up in an auditorium with rows of red chairs, a walkway with red carpet, and walks lined with painted murals of trees and wildlife.
The Patricia Theatre was opened in 1913 to entertain mill personnel, but in a time of segregation only authorized 25 Indigenous people today to use an upstairs balcony during every single clearly show. (Madeline Environmentally friendly/CBC)

What have reconciliation endeavours appeared like? 

The Tla’amin Nation has been so generous with their time and data all over the decades. Not just when the qathet film society took over this developing in October 2021, but with previous owners as properly, who were being searching to rectify what experienced transpired.

We consider to just remain connected and adhere to the direct of the country, in phrases of what will make a improved marriage and run programming via them. 

We have a new pageant we introduced previous calendar year termed the qathet international film competition and which is really fascinating to just convey a lot more diversity into programming with some steerage from the nation.

How would you explain the theatre’s predicament now?

Due to the fact the non-income qathet movie society took over the theatre, we’ve been in a better placement to chase grants and get cash than the previous homeowners, who definitely experienced to struggle maintaining up a building that’s practically 100 a long time previous. 

This is obviously a location for the local community in numerous techniques.

During the 12 months, we get folks stopping in saying they’ve heard of us and some folks even say this is why they came to Powell River.