Strong support from the public for the Bridge The Gap campaign will keep the Chemainus Theatre going until performances can hopefully return to the stage in the fall. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Strong support from the public for the Bridge The Gap campaign will keep the Chemainus Theatre going until performances can hopefully return to the stage in the fall. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Popular Island dinner theatre hoping fundraiser can Bridge The Gap

Chemainus Theatre patrons launch campaign to assist in filling the void until performances return

The Chemainus Theatre is banking on a Bridge The Gap matching funds campaign to match the success of last year’s Crisis Relief Fund.

The theatre has been shut down for performances since March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Audience members who come from around Vancouver Island and beyond are feeling the void after so long.

Dr. Don Hilton and his wife Joyce put up $50,000 for the Crisis Relief Fund and the matching funds far exceeded that amount.

“That campaign went really well,” said the theatre’s managing director Randy Huber.

RELATED: Chemainus Theatre’s Playbill Dining Room reopening

RELATED: Chemainus Inn experiences a direct hit from Chemainus Theatre shutdown

The Hiltons are back again, along with Gregg and Jennifer Perry, Duncan Iron Works and the theatre’s board of directors in putting up $60,000 in matching funds for the Bridge The Gap campaign.

“We’d love to match and hopefully exceed the $60,000 of the three patrons,” said Huber.

“The gap is the period of time between now and when we’re back on stage. We don’t know how the restrictions are going to unwind – just wait and see what happens.”

The theatre used an innovative approach with a cabaret series in the Playbill Dining Room late in 2020 but that was short-lived when public health officials tightened restrictions again.

At the very least, the theatre hopes the cabaret series Playbill Presents can be started again before too long, with theatre stage performances to resume whenever deemed possible.

“We’re down to a pretty small core staff right now,” noted Huber. “We’re all digging in and doing what we can to pull through.”

The community wants to help the theatre pull through its time of stretching the finances, as evidenced by the last campaign and Bridge The Gap is not expected to be any different.

The Hiltons know the full value of the theatre to the community.

“It’s a big part of this town,” conceded Don Hilton. “We’re all here to help each other.”

“The economy of Chemainus has been impacted,” added Joyce. “It’s fun to see the actors wandering around the streets. We know who they are.”

The Hiltons also became well-known around town after the Crisis Relief Fund launched, although that was obviously not the intention.

“People would stop us on the road, in the grocery store and say thanks a lot for doing that,” Don explained. “People were aware of this.

“We’re very honoured to be part of that. It was intended to be supportive of the theatre, but it went way beyond.”

The Hiltons are frequent theatre patrons and are missing the stage performances like everyone else.

“We’ve been to the majority,” said Don.

The Hiltons are most impressed with how Huber and artistic director Mark DuMez are handling the difficult situation and hope the latest infusion of funds to be matched can help get everything back on track.

“Randy and Mark really figure that’ll be enough if COVID settles down we can get going this fall and winter,” said Don. “And they’re talking about putting on modest size programs. Who knows what portion of people they can put into the theatre?

“I see them every week or two. They are very creative and this whole cabaret kind of program – how to create different scenarios of live performances.”

“In no way did we expect the pandemic would cost us almost two full seasons of theatre,” summed up Huber. “We’re hoping that by the fall we can get back up on the stage.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

EntertainmentTheatre

 

Brent Dellebuur of Duncan Iron Works is a loyal supporter of the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo submitted)

Brent Dellebuur of Duncan Iron Works is a loyal supporter of the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo submitted)

Gregg Perry, left, and Dr. Don Hilton are on board with the Bridge The Gap campaign at the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo submitted)

Gregg Perry, left, and Dr. Don Hilton are on board with the Bridge The Gap campaign at the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo submitted)

Dr. Don Hilton and wife Joyce are solidly behind the Bridge The Gap fundraising campaign at the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dr. Don Hilton and wife Joyce are solidly behind the Bridge The Gap fundraising campaign at the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Red dresses to be hung from Ladysmith to Oyster Bay, showing solidarity against racism

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Nanaimo playwright Anne Nesbitt is presenting a staged reading of her play about Indigenous conservationist Gertrude Bernard, also known as Anahareo (from left). (Photo courtesy Andrew Nesbitt/Riding Mountain National Park)
Island playwright tells the story of Indigenous woman who ‘saved the beaver’

Anne Nesbitt presents ‘Anahareo’ as part of TheatreOne staged reading series

Ladysmith’s Taylor Walters received the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award and is hard at work pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction at Quest University. (Submitted photo)
Island teen’s passion for science and technology equality helps fund her education

Ladysmith’s Taylor Walters one of 16 Canadians honoured with Terry Fox Humanitarian Award

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Island woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

Becomes first person in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Nanaimo flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

A Parksville Fire Department’s firefighter hoses down the facade of a Parksville Heritage Centre building after it caught fire on Friday afternoon (April 16). (Michael Briones photo)
Fire crews, roofers work to douse building fire in Parksville

Damage was minimal and workers escaped injury

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read