Langford’s Isabelle Reader Theatre gets a makeover

Upgrades include new stage, new seats and improved sightlines

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

That grand old lady of theatre on the West Shore is finally getting a face lift.

Renovations in the Isabelle Reader Theatre in Spencer Middle School were completed at the end of November, said Ravi Parmar, school trustee and chair of the board for the Sooke School District.

“The Isabelle Reader Theatre has a long history as a teaching place for kids,” noted Parmar, who attended Spencer Middle School 10 years ago. “It’s one of the only live theatres on the West Shore, besides the one at Royal Bay Secondary. “Not much has been done since the theatre opened in 1978, so the improvements are welcome news for PACE Musical Theatre, local churches and other user groups, he added.

The renovations were made possible in part by a $20,000 donation from the City of Langford. “They saw the theatre was getting old and wanted to step up,” Parmar said. “I can’t think of a lot of municipalities that would be of the mindset to support the school district and community space in this way.”

READ ALSO: Study on Malahat road closures expected by end of year

The school district is limited by what can be done in terms of renovations, he noted. An annual grant of about $1.5 million from the government must be earmarked for infrastructure and can’t be used for new equipment or cosmetic improvements.

SD 62 was able to come up with the balance of the $115,000 required for new seats and a new stage from a combination of $65,000 from the board reserve and funds that PACE and the school have been allotting for the seats for a number of years.

“It’s great that we were able to complete the work in time for the annual PACE Christmas shows,” he said.

Sandy Webster-Worthy, artistic director for PACE Musical Theatre, was eager to share her enthusiasm for the improvements.

“We have a fantastic new state of the art stage and not only are the new seats comfortable, but they’re staggered to improve the sight lines,” Webster-Worthy said. “We have ample wheelchair space in a variety of areas as well. It’s an excellent working theatre with a long history that’s undergone some wonderful improvements thanks to a marvellous collaboration between the school district, the City of Langford and the community.”

Langford Mayor Stew Young said council recognized there was a need to make improvements to enhance the long-term viability of the theatre. “It’s important to support the arts,” he said. “The new seats will make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for students and the community.”

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

UPDATED: Crews contain fire to attic of Central Saanich home

Firefighters are responding to a structure fire in Central Saanich

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

Oak Bay chief puts an end to dad jokes on police Twitter

No more jokes on Oak Bay Police Twitter account

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Most Read