Shuswap Theatre volunteers receive help from Mascon/Telus employees to remove the old theatre seats to make way for new ones. (Shuswap Theatre photo)

New seats on the way for Shuswap Theatre

Soon every seat at Shuswap Theatre will be the best seat in the house.

The theatre is in the process of replacing its seats with new ones. The original seats were obtained nearly 40 years ago, used, from the Salmar Classic. As they no longer meet audience expectations for comfort, a little over a year ago, Shuswap Theatre decided to celebrate its 40th anniversary by replacing them.

A project committee of four – Joyce Henderson, Susan MacMillan, Tracy Nash and Bea Kirkwood-Hackett – was tasked with the job and they went to work on sourcing new seats, raising the money and managing the logistics of the project.

The Comfy Bottoms project got its first leg up last June when the Shuswap Community Foundation contributed a grant of $5,000. The plan was to “sell” seats for $250 each, and since the campaign began, more than $41,000 has been raised to pay for the new seats and new flooring.

Six organizations, eight businesses and 55 individuals have donated at the $250 level (or more), and many more people have made smaller donations. The campaign included two fundraising events, a Shed Party and a Variety Show, both spearheaded by Peter Blacklock. A permanent plaque in the lobby will recognize all contributors at the $250 level and above.

The old seats were removed earlier this month by theatre members and a team from Mascon-Telus as part of their Days of Giving program. The seats were advertised as free to anyone who could pick them up and have now all been recycled to new homes throughout the province.

Using air compressors, volunteers cleaned the ceiling and pipes of 40 years of dust – a job that would have been virtually impossible with seats in place. The old carpet was removed and new flooring, vinyl planking under the seats and carpet in the aisles has been installed.

At this moment, the new seats are somewhere on the Pacific aboard a container ship, having left the factory in Mexico on June 12. They will be installed as soon as they arrive in Salmon Arm, in advance (it is hoped) of the Theatre on the Edge Festival, which runs July 20 to 22.

Through its website, Facebook and Instagram platforms, Shuswap Theatre is running a Comfy Bottoms for Theatre on the Edge Festival contest. All those who correctly guess the arrival date of the new seats in Salmon Arm will be entered in a draw for two seven-packs of tickets to the Theatre on the Edge Festival. Deadline for entries is June 30 at noon.

Tickets for Theatre on the Edge plays start at $10. The more shows you buy tickets for, the lower the price per show. Performance schedule and tickets are available at shuswaptheatre.com and at Intwined Fibre Arts, 161 Hudson Ave. NE.

For more information, contact Susan MacMillan at susmac@telus.net.

Submitted by Shuswap Theatre.

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