Progress Lab 1422: New Cultural Hub Opens on Vancouver’s East Side

A consortium of four indie arts and culture organizations – Boca Del Lupo, Electric Company Theatre, 

Neworld Theatre and Rumble Productions – is very pleased to announce the grand opening of a 

brand new rehearsal and administrative centre at 1422 William St., in the Commercial Drive area.  

 

After 3 months of renovations, the 7,000 square foot former garment factory now has a full-size 

rehearsal hall, and administration offices for the four companies. The hub is named after Progress 

Lab, the larger informal and co-operative arts network that counts these companies as members. 

 

“Many people have been working together for many years to make this happen,” says 

Communications Chair Marcus Youssef. “There’s a well-documented crisis of accessible, affordable 

rehearsal and production space in this community, and Progress Lab 1422 will help address that. It 

will do so not only for our companies but also for the many cultural and civil society organizations in 

this city who struggle to find safe, affordable rehearsal and meeting space. That struggle is a major 

impediment to social and economic activity.” 

 

Until recently the building was an old garment factory. “It’s a prime example of the economic and 

social benefits of arts and culture,” notes Youssef. “This would have become a vacant building. We’re 

bringing new jobs, our creative work and deeply held co-operative values to a community that we live 

in and love. That’s what arts and culture does best.”  

 

This renovation would not have been possible without the support of PL 1422’s founding investment 

partners, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Foundation. “We can’t thank them enough,” 

Youssef says. “They listened, they committed, and now it’s up and running. This is what happens 

when organizations pool resources and work collaboratively.” Additional in-kind support was also 

provided by Vancity Credit Union and Vancity Capital.  

 

Referring to the recent BC Government cuts to BC Gaming and planned cuts to the BC Arts Council, 

Youssef adds, “We’ve completed this phase of the project without a penny from the Government of 

BC, which – unlike Ontario and Quebec – has no cultural infrastructure program. But, with missing 

walls and no equipment, we still have a long way to go. We hope the BC government will look at this 

project, and the many others around the province like it, and recognize that stable and ongoing 

investment in BC cultural and community organizations is not a frill. It’s good for the economy, good 

for communities and good for BC. It’s an opportunity for them to  invest in real legacy.”  

 

The studio will launch with rehearsals for Electric Company's Canadian tour of award-winner No Exit

Next up is rehearsals for Rumble’s After the Quake, followed by Neworld’s Ali & Ali 7 and Boca’s 

Dance Marathon.   

 

And there’s a party!  

Come join us Friday October 2, 1422 William St. 

7 pm: tours of the space 

8 pm: less than a few speeches 

+ a birthday toast to PL 1422’s contractor Joel & a bit of performance 


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