The Phoenix Theatre - A Brief History
In the 1980”s the Town of Fort Nelson purchased a hotel complex in receivership with the intent of creating a Town Square. Soon this building housed the Town and Regional District offices, Library, and senior citizen complex with a space set aside for a theatre. In 1992 the Phoenix Theatre was opened through a collaborative effort between the local Arts Council, citizens of Fort Nelson, the corporate community and all three levels of government.
The Theatre is seen as the “jewel in the crown” of Fort Nelson and a strong attraction for the people wanting to re-locate. The Phoenix features a legitimate stage house incorporating state of the art sound and lights and seats 250 patrons in an intimate environment. As well as being a live theatre by design, the Phoenix also serves the community as a movie theatre, art gallery, rental facility and convention centre. The Phoenix is operated by the non-profit Phoenix Theatre Management Society and employs a full-time general manager, building manager and over 10 part-time student employees. With the over 21,000.00 visits from the community and surrounding area, this vibrant theatre operation filters over $350,000.00 into the local economy every year and is an integral part in making remote Fort Nelson hospitable.
The Phoenix Theatre has always had a strong mandate to encourage and promote local art and artists. This commitment is visible in the gallery with local artists hanging their work or the in-house armature theatre group, the Phoenix Players, staging full length comedies. It is through the Phoenix Theatre that local people get a taste of what the art world has to offer. The Phoenix Theatre is also the only venue for professional stage entertainment in Fort Nelson and subsequently has presented hundreds of entertainers throughout the years. Artists such as Juno Award winners Rita MacNeil, Randy Bachman, The Stampeders, The Wilkinsons, Patricia Conroy, Susan Aglukark, Farmers Daughter, BC Ballet and children’s entertainer Norman Foote, have all enjoyed performing on the stage of the Phoenix Theatre. As well as being acoustically perfect and intimately staged, the enthusiastic Fort Nelson audiences make many seasoned performers eager to return to the Theatre!
Whether it is local school dramatic or musical productions, traveling dance groups, children’s choirs or professional Chinese Acrobats, the Phoenix Theatre has been the gracious host to all and is committed to the artists of Fort Nelson.