A long-held vision for Haney Heritage Village will become a reality, thanks to a generous grant from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union.
The village’s popular Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre will get a new amphitheatre complete with upgraded seating, stage, lighting and sound system – with SASCU picking up 75 per cent of the costs.
The notion of an amphitheatre has been on the books for about a decade, says museum board president Doug Adams.
Some of the board members grew tired of dreaming so with their idea, the necessary land, and a vision in hand, approached SASCU.
And the credit union’s board of directors didn’t hesitate to add their name and support to another community-minded venture, agreeing to ante up $98,000 over two years.
SASCU CEO Michael Wagner describes Haney as one of the community’s key assets.
“Not just Haney Park itself, but also the notion of having an organization preserve the history of Salmon Arm was the other thing that appealed to us,” he said. “And the project itself was, I think, key to both Haney Park in terms of their ability to be self-sufficient and being able to generate more income through the expansion of the dinner theatre and other productions.”
Adams, who has been president of the museum board for some 20 years, agrees.
“We’ve been gaining a lot of momentum with the dinner theatre,” he says. “It has been one of my goals all along to keep tourists in town one more night, and if you can give them entertainment, they might.”
Adams says the quality of the summer productions has continued to improve and Peter Blacklock’s The Mystery of Dutch Charlie was enjoyed by more than 1,700 visitors this summer.
Now the demand for the open-air theatre has improved, the board wants to offer comfortable seats and a great view.
A cabin in the woods across the lane from the main exhibits will form part of the backdrop and will serve as a dressing room.
“When the site for the theatre was investigated, we scouted out a natural amphitheatre,” Adams says. “It is on the upper nature trail but close to the village and has excellent natural acoustics.”
With museum board member Gary Landers chairing the theatre committee, architect Bernd Hermanski and contractor Ian McDiarmid came on board to help plan the venue.
These plans include benches with backs, a large stage, practical dressing rooms, 140 seats, and more.
Haney officials are hoping members of the public will share their excitement by helping to raise the remaining 25 per cent of construction costs.
Just in time for Christmas gift-giving, the association is offering individual seats for sale.
The plan includes 35 benches, all with an excellent view of the stage, at a cost of $1,000.
A donation of $250 buys a seat and will be acknowledged in a small plaque in the new theatre facility.
Each donor will receive two tickets to the 2012 dinner theatre production and a charitable donation receipt for $200.
Partnering with the Salmon Arm Museum, you’ll be leaving a legacy for years to come,” Adams adds.
If you would like to be part of the legacy, contact R.J. Haney Heritage Village at 250-832-5243 by phone, visit the website www.salmonarmmuseum.org or check out the project at www.facebook.com/Haneyheritage.