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Renovations close historic Vernon Towne Theatre

Show will go on mid-May following April 2 closure
Vernon’s historic Towne Theatre opened at its current 30th Avenue location as a dance hall in 1929 and was converted to a movie theatre in 1938. (File photo)

The curtain is closing on Vernon’s historic Towne Theatre for a major renovation.

The theatre closes Tuesday, April 2 and will re-open mid-May after the auditorium gets a makeover with new paint, curtains, acoustic treatment and a new cinema sound system.

Infrastructure is also being added to support the theatre’s transition to adding more live events.

“This ability to diversify our programming will help build a self-sustaining business model and ensure the long term future of the venue,” said operations manager Rebekah Beck.

“We are getting close to our 100-year anniversary as an entertainment venue for the region, and that is a special piece of local history that has been lost in most other towns.”

The theatre, located right on main street (30th Avenue) in downtown is a prime venue to fit the Greater Vernon Cultural Plan’s identified need for additional live music and events capacity in the region, according to Beck.

“It also is a real economic anchor for surrounding businesses as we bring in around 40,000 people annually to the downtown core, with a large portion of that in the off-peak non-tourist season. Many of our audience members make a night out of it and do dinner and a show and get some shopping done at surrounding merchants. The more live and special events we can host, the greater the impact we can have.”

The theatre is in the process of signing contracts for “some pretty big live acts to be announced soon.”

The upcoming closure follows a temporary weekend closure sparked by a power outage Friday, March 22.

The theatre remained closed until late Monday, March 25 due to an issue with the projection system, as it was running a movie when the outage happened.

“It was an easily fixed issue, but the part wasn’t able to be shipped out over the weekend and isn’t the type of thing kept on hand as a spare,” said Beck.

The repair was completed, but the theatre lost movies for the weekend and its big Monday at the Arts evening.

READ MORE: Key funding secured for Vernon Towne Theatre upgrades

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Jennifer Smith

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