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Wednesday, 23 March 2016 14:38

Lyric Theatre celebrates 10th anniversary of its re-opening

Written by  Joey Donnelly
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This week marks the 10th anniversary since we officially re-opened the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current.


During the eighties until 2003, the building was operated as a series of night clubs. While it stood vacant, a group of volunteers gathered to restore the Lyric, inspired by its rich history.
Then on March 25th, 2006, a newly-formed non-profit, the Southwest Cultural Development Group, presented Vaudeville Revisited, a nine-act extravaganza.
Dressed in his top hat and tails, the host for the night was local actor and teacher, Wally Pearson.
“For 25 years we haven’t been able to call this place the Lyric,” he said.
“Perhaps it was an actor’s curse that brought us VLTs instead of Vaudeville, beer instead on popcorn and a last call instead of an encore. Yet through the hard work of modern pioneers, we may call this building the Lyric Theatre once again.”
Headlining the show was Canadian icon, Fred Penner, who held a children’s matinée earlier that day, followed by an original play from high-school students.
Penner delighted the evening crowd with many songs geared towards a more mature audience.
The array of local and national talent included the Swift Current belly dancers, Backstage Dance, folk singer Bonnie Logan, magician John Barker and the premiere of Graeme Patterson’s animated short about Woodrow, Sask.
Other notable acts were the hilarious Bionic Bannock Boys, musicians Eliza Doyle and Melissa Nygren from the Moonshine Misses and Heather Cameron returned home with her Regina dance company, FADA dance, with a slapstick piece titled, Hot Diggity!
“With tonight’s performance of Vaudeville Revisited, we kindly call our players back to the boards in a production fit for the era when entertainers roamed by train, horse and buggy,” Pearson told the sold-out crowd.
Over the years, a generous community of volunteers, businesses and patrons have lent a hand and opened their wallets. An example of that early generosity was from Hansa Painting. The local family-run business volunteered to paint the interior of the Lyric at no cost to SCDG.
Other initial allies included Paul Rezansoff, Hugh Henry, Kim Houghtaling, Shann Gowan, Karl Bazin, Bob Siemens, Christine Ciona and other local leaders in the arts and heritage community.
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Some of the early board members included,  Adam Budd, Simon and Lea Nakonechny, Gord Nodge, Calvin McCrie, Gord Cave, Aaron Ens, Dalas Gislason, Joanne Booth, Aasa Marshall, Jennifer Shaitel, Erin Richmond, Bonnie Heather and many more.
Speaking to the Prairie Post in 2006, Lea Nakonechny summed up why we were all so passionate about revitalizing the Lyric, built in 1912.
“It’s really advantageous to try and take what you’ve got and work with it, get it to do something for you,” she said. “We want the Lyric to be a tourist attraction and revitalize the downtown and contribute to the cultural life of Swift Current … We’re trying to get at the earlier history and we just want to preserve it for the future. That’s the main goal.”
One decade later, the theatre is stronger than ever.
We have ensured our vision remains clear: recognizing the intrinsic value of personal expression combined with the careful stewardship of our historic building.
Many thanks to everyone who turned this grassroots idea into a reality, and please, continue to support the Lyric Theatre.
UPCOMING SHOWS
Yuk Yuk’s Stand Up Comedy returns to the Lyric on Saturday, April 2 featuring Winston Spear and Derek Sweet. Tickets: $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.
 On Wednesday, April 6, Youth Talent Night provides a  space for young artists, dancers, writers and musicians to share their talents with the crowd. Tickets: $5, $7. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Lyric Open Stage returns on Thursday April, 14. New Open Jam and Happy Hour from 7-8 p.m. Show begins at 8 p.m., $7 at the door and performers get in for free.
Swift Current Improvisational Theatre shares their unique brand of comedy on Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, April 16 Blenders is pleased to host Canadian folk musician, John Wort Hannam. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and are available at Pharmasave (blendersmusic.ca).
Write Out Loud returns on Wednesday April 20 with writers Steven Ross Smith and J. Jill Robinson. Doors open 6:30 p.m., Show starts at 7 p.m. Admission $8 at the door.
For more information about the Lyric and other upcoming shows, visit lyrictheatre.ca, the Facebook page, or phone 306-773-6292.
Joey Donnelly is a news reporter for Golden West Radio, folklorist and Lyric board member.

Read 1917 times Last modified on Wednesday, 23 March 2016 14:52