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)

Theatre hopeful matching funds can Bridge The Gap

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 the 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 story: Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

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.

Related story: Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

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, but that was 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.”

EntertainmentTheatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

North Cowicha to extend the time lines of its official community plan update. (File photo)
North Cowichan to extend time line of OCP review

Municipality also adds $55,000 to OCP budget

Cowichan Capitals’ Logan Rands digs for the puck along the boards in the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ zone midway through the third period of their BC Hockey League game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Cowichan Capitals pick up first two wins of BCHL season

Brockman, Moffatt both up to four goals on the year

A nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex on Cowichan Lake Road in Duncan ended peacefully on Wednesday, April 14. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Police surround building as homeowner held in apartment by adult son

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

The cherry trees on Canada Avenue in Duncan are in full bloom this April, 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan’s cherry trees in full blossom

There are a few things that signal the coming of spring every… Continue reading

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna flips the puck into the Clippers zone during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Island BCHL game postponed due to ‘potential positive’ COVID-19 test

Nanaimo Clippers team suspends activities, players isolating pending further test results

Most Read