Whitehorse Daily Star

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Andrew Connors

YG supports Yukon Theatre’s resurrection

The momentum is rolling on the Yukon Film Society’s efforts to resurrect the Yukon Theatre.

By Whitehorse Star on November 23, 2021

The momentum is rolling on the Yukon Film Society’s efforts to resurrect the Yukon Theatre.

The territorial government said today it’s providing the society with $35,000 to assist with operations and renovations of the Wood Street theatre.

That will include a structural inspection, investigating any health and safety upgrades required, consulting an accessibility contractor, and conducting an energy audit.

The society will contribute money from its operating capital as well as from the revenue generated in operating the theatre.

It plans to hold several two-week runs of new release films, as well as the Available Light Film Festival during the first five months of operations.

It has leased the building from the Richmond, B.C.-based numbered company which bought it – and Qwanlin theatres complex on Fourth Avenue – from Landmark Cinemas earlier this year.

Landmark closed both buildings after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

For years, long before the pandemic, the company had a large sign up near the Chilkoot Centre promoting a planned new complex there, but never followed through on its plans.

The society will continue to work on planning and strategic partnerships to support operating the community arts building in the long term.

“The Yukon Theatre has been a fixture of the downtown landscape for many years and a symbol of Yukoners’ love of film,” said Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai.

“The Yukon Film Society’s plan to reopen the theatre for festival screenings and first-run films is exciting, and I applaud their efforts to make this a reality.

“Our government is pleased to contribute to a new vision for the Yukon Theatre, and I look forward to seeing the possibilities the future brings.”

Andrew Connors, the society’s artistic director, said his organization “is uniquely positioned to bring cinema back to Whitehorse for the enjoyment and benefit of all Yukoners.

“We have decades of experience managing cinema, media art exhibitions, performing arts events, supporting filmmakers in the production of their work, and with the annual multi-faceted Available Light Film Festival.

“This project is the natural evolution for the society, and the potential for hosting many of our activities in an historic downtown community venue that operates year-round is an exciting prospect for our team, and a dream-come-true for the thousands of members and supporters of the Society,” he added.

Connors told the Star Monday he’s working with the theatre’s new owners to give it a new lease on life.

The society is planning on running new releases, such as Dune and Spencer, with more conventional fare for its fans, such as documentaries.

Comments (6)

Up 3 Down 1

Jim on Nov 24, 2021 at 4:37 pm

We are surprised that YTG supports this? Of course they do. Where else will the funding come from? It will be on a smaller scale to Yukonstructs. The government invested through a non-profit over 4 million into a leased premise to then buy it back at the increased value price in 10 years. Or the High Country which the government has leased over the last 2 years and now looking at buying it through a non-profit for 10 million with a big reno to follow. I am all in favour if sweat equity and private funding make this a reality, but the past has shown feeding at the government trough is the easy way out.

Up 2 Down 2

TheHammer on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:56 pm

The project seems to fit the resurrection of a 1950s vaudeville act. Good one Andy.

Up 14 Down 9

Sheepchaser on Nov 24, 2021 at 10:35 am

This is a poor investment. The future does not hold much promise for physical theatres. Many home entertainment systems were upgraded and most film festivals switched to a streaming model during the lockdowns. Youth have little interest in much that happens off of their mobile devices. NGO and tax-payer dollars spent on raising a gravestone of the past, basically.

That money could have been spent on educational programs and after-school activities around digital media creation. Spending money on the consumption of media, rather than the creation of it has zero return on investment.

Start doing the math, Ranj. You’re supposed to be good at this stuff.

Up 4 Down 0

jack on Nov 23, 2021 at 11:35 pm

I recall it was actually called the 'Capitol Theatre' at 3rd and Main.

Up 2 Down 2

No opinion on Nov 23, 2021 at 4:17 pm

I guess a lot of places in "Yukon" or owned by people outside of the Yukon. lol

Up 20 Down 9

Juniper Jackson on Nov 23, 2021 at 1:28 pm

I remember when the old Capital Theater was on the corner of 3rd and Main. It had balcony viewing and the worst popcorn ever popped. I miss greasy theater popcorn. While the proposed agenda is not appealing to me personally, it is to many of my friends and family, so i wish them prosperity and support in this venture.

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