History

History of Brockville Arts Centre

From the beginning

1858 – The present Brockville Arts Centre on King Street West is built to serve as a town hall, market place and fire engine house. (Two of the original date stones still exist placed on the outside wall).

1880 – The town hall is moved to a new location allowing for the creation of Brockville’s first real theatre called The Opera House.

1911 – The building is expanded creating a tall fly tower, spacious dressing rooms and the third largest stage in Canada. The Opera House is renamed New Theatre.

1929 – New Theatre closes due to declining revenues. The theatre remains “dark” through much of the so called “dirty thirties”.

1937 – Fire destroys the auditorium. Fortunately, the proscenium’s asbestos curtain saves the huge stage, backstage area and fly tower.

1939 – The renovated building reopens as a motion-picture theatre called The Regent.

1958 – The rising popularity of television forces the closure of The Regent. (Today, in the projection booth the two 35 milimetre film projectors continue to function and are used for special screenings).

1960 – The building reopens as Brockville’s Civic Auditorium offering a venue for local theatre groups and professional touring companies.

1975 – The Civic Auditorium is renovated including an expansion to accommodate a lobby art gallery and box office.

1981 – The rear of the building is expanded for rehearsal space, set construction, prop and wardrobe storage.

1990 – The building is renamed Brockville Arts Centre.

2009 – Project ENCORE! – a community-driven undertaking, restores and redecorates the theatre under the direction of Designer Peggy Irvine.

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