The City of Vancouver council has unanimously approved a request from Bard on the Beach and the Arts Club Theatre Company to move into a new home at West 1st Avenue.
The space was originally designated for the now-defunct Playhouse Theatre, as part of the developer’s $7.6 million in-kind community amenity contribution. The two theatrical companies, both giants in their fields, requested $7 million in capital funding as part of their application for tenancy. “Although we’re sorry that the Playhouse of course is no longer with us, it is wonderful to see the Arts Club and Bard on the Beach being able to be the beneficiary, and therefore the whole city the beneficiary,” Non-Partisan Association councillor Elizabeth Ball told council.
Now that that request has been approved, it will be up to the companies to leverage another $5.8 million in support from senior levels of government and private donors in order. This funds will allow the creation of a 250-seat theatre, four rehearsal halls, costume and props shops, and offices.
The Arts Club is excited by the prospect of moving their small Revue Theatre from Granville Island to its new home. They believe their current landlord will also be pleased with the shift, as it will allow an expansion of the Granville Island Market into the adjoining space. As well, both growing companies are in dire need of rehearsal space to help facilitate new and exciting programming.
Howard Jang, executive director, noted the new centre could also give both theatre companies the opportunity to increase their community programming, such as a playwriting course for high school students that the Arts Club runs. “I think there’s a lot of time available for the community to come and use it, and so we’ve been talking to the community and said tell us what your needs are so that we can start planning to make sure that it can be available for you,” said Jang.