By Karen Bradley
In the middle of a small village, in the center of a small province, lies a unique building: The Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre. On a walk through the building’s many spaces with Treasurer Helen Jenson and Board Member Barbara Bell, I learned the ways in which a building can bring a community together.
I had been to the Theatre before, teaching a workshop for young people in a summer drama camp. I had seen that although Middle Musquodoboit is a small place, community spirit and the commitment to heritage and culture are strong. So I was familiar with the heralded backdrop, painted by the Canadian scene-painter, William Gill, that is now being used as the proscenium curtain. But the theatre is more than a showplace for the painting, important as it is.
Backstage, the walls are covered with signatures and messages from both well-known performers and local kids, side-by-side. The history of everyone who walked those boards is preserved. The graffiti extends all the way down the backstage stairs, which lead to a good-sized dressing room, tucked away between the floors and under the stage.
Helen and Barbara continued to guide me through the first-rate kitchen, where meals for community and private gatherings can be prepared, and into the community room, where a small stage allows for ensemble and solo performances.
“Don’t you want to see the downstairs?” Helen asked. “There’s more???” I thought. Down we went, into the storage area that was once a bowling alley. Hanging on the wall were a raft of beautiful puppets.
There’s also a sewing room and a costume shop, and the local food bank is located at the back of the building.
The Bicentennial Theatre presents five or six concerts a year. The next one is with Laura Smith, in concert with Kim Dunn. It will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $23 advance, $28 door (including HST).
The next community family-friendly pub night is December 8 from 6-9 PM, and the Community Christmas Concert is December 17 at 2:00 PM.
In the spring, local young people from the elementary, middle, and high schools will perform the musical Willy Wonka. Helen and Barb said there is growing interest from the community in a drama group as well.
For tickets to the Laura Smith concert:
Box Office: www.bicentennialtheatre.ca
Tickets also available at Reid’s Restaurant and Haverstock Pharmasave