One of the most beautiful heritage locations in the Nelson Kootenay Lake area is the lovingly restored Capitol Theatre on Victoria Street. Originally built in 1927, the Capitol was in its heyday in the 1930s. But by the 1940s, things began to turn grim for the Capitol.
In 1935, the same contractor who built the Capitol built a 1,000 seat theatre just down the road, and with time, Famous Players ended up owning both theatres. Of course they chose to present most films at the larger theatre, and so the slow demise of the Capitol began.
But fast forward a few decades, and Nelson now has enough volunteer spirit and civic pride to restore and maintain two heritage theatres, both hosting shows worth a visit.
Capitol Theatre Now More Gorgeous Than Original
One of the loveliest pieces in the Capitol Theatre’s history is that its present is perhaps more glorious than its past. The plush velvet cushions on the chairs, the ornate art work on the walls, the warm, welcoming foyer with local artists’ work displayed on the walls, all of this points to hours and hours of work done by local volunteers.
The result is a theatre that is a pleasure to attend. And, as many acts note while onstage, Nelson has become a stop worth making for many performers. The welcome they receive, often to a packed house, is worth the stop on their tour through often much larger cities. Take Stuart McLeans recent Vinyl Cafe visit, where he recorded live to a full house.
The 2014 – 2015 Season Has Begun
There are so many reasons to visit Nelson and the Kootenay Lake Area. One pillar of these offerings is the vibrant arts and culture scene we maintain. The Capitol Theatre Series is just a small part of this, but what it offers rivals that of much larger centres. And all in an intimate, lovingly restored setting. And all at a cost that is kept low to make sure that everyone who wants to attend, can do so. Tickets range from $25 to $35 per performance. During intermission and before each show, local beer and wine are offered in the lobby along with locally made chocolates. The experience is one that most cities, both large and small, remember fondly. Most cannot replicate Nelson’s theatre experience.
Each season, which runs from September to April offers a mix of live music, theatre, modern dance and ballet. This season, in fact, the Capitol will offer two ballets. Ballet Jorgen performing Cinderella, and Atlantic Ballet performing PIAF (featuring the music of Edith Piaf). Both ballets will take place in February 2015. These performances sell out each year, so if you are considering attending a performance this winter, (perhaps as an adjunct to a ski vacation) book early.
Another winter offering is a local favourite: Detour by Ichigo-Ichieh New Theatre, a modern dance love story created and performed by Nelson’s Hiromoto Ida on January 24.
A Show Right Around the Corner
Coming soon — Bluegrass band John Reischman and The Jaybirds perform as part of the Capitol Season Series on Friday, October 17.
Though the season has already begun, there are many shows still to come this year. Adding in a live theatre performance to your visit to Nelson lets you take in incredible shows in a setting that you really must see to believe. This seasons shows include:
- SPIN — Unfortunately, this event has already taken place. But here’s what you missed: Evalyn Perry and her bicycle are “steeped in the folk tradition but born to innovate, evalyn parry’s genre-blurring work is inspired by intersections of history, autobiography and contemporary social activism.” Says the Georgia Straight: “SPIN is polished folk performance art…the lyrics are potently lean and the arrangements, including Parry and Hart’s harmonies, are sensuously textured”
- John Reischman and The Jaybirds — This Friday, October 17th. The Audiophile Audition says: “All in all, I can’t think of a better-balanced bluegrass band working today. Everybody is playing at the same high standards of performance that Reischman himself sets. Nobody is overshadowed.”
- Yes, Please – The Bills — Coming October 24th. The Glasgow Herald reports that “The Bills are the biggest blast of fresh air to come out of Canada since The Band”.
- When That I Was – Christopher Hunt — January 10th. Colin MacClean of the Edmonton Sun writes “To enjoy When That I Was… you don’t really have to be a student of the Bard, or for that matter, of theatre in general, because it stands as a great tale spun by a master storyteller.”
- Who Killed Gertrude Crump – Monster Theatre — Coming January 18th. The London Free Press gives this one 5 stars and writes: “A standing ovation followed Travis’ tour-de-force performance.”
- DETOUR – Ichigo-Ichieh — Coming January 24th. “While this play is based on traditional dramatic elements, it is a contemporary play. Ida talks about you and me – traditional theatre never does that. That’s how he deviates from the past.”
- Like Father, Like Son? Sorry – Chris Gibbs — February 7th. The Toronto Star says, “He’s one of the most uniquely persuasive solo performers around… it’s all fresh, it’s all funny, it’s presented with wit and style… Highly recommended”
- Cinderella – Ballet Jorgen — February 11th. The Hamilton Spectator writes: “This is a honey of a production – one that brings magic back to the ballet stage.”
- PIAF – Atlantic Ballet Theatre — Coming February 27th. “The exceptional dancers of Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada who hail from seven countries explore a life shrouded in mystery, love, and tragedy reflected in the authentic and life-inspired songs of the great Edith Piaf.”
- BOOM! – Rick Miller — Coming March 11th. The Calgary Sun writes: “Theatre this dynamic, special, insightful and innovative doesn’t come around often enough for you to miss it.”
- Grim and Fischer – The Wonderheads — Finally, on April 9th. Dean Jenkinson from the CBC says “…the two masked leads of this wonderful show are among the most versatile and expressive characters in any production you’ll see…Grim and Fischer is utter magic.”
Capitol Theatre Season Packages Available
You can purchase season packages for 20% savings, at $240 for the entire season. You can also buy a half-season pass. When you buy advance tickets to any four or five shows, receive 15% off. If you then see more than the five shows, you’ll receive another 10% off your additional single tickets.
Season subscribers get the same seats for all performances (where possible) and priority booking for next season, which means you can get even better seats next year!
To pick up the Capitol Theatre 2014-2015 season program or buy your season pass, drop by the theatre at 421 Victoria Street Tuesday through Friday noon to 4:30 p.m., phone 250-352-6363, or check the website at http://capitoltheatre.bc.ca or come to the Visitor Centre at 225 Hall Street.
Connect to The Capitol
The event calendar lists many more performances than listed here for the series. Check the event calendar at http://www.capitoltheatre.bc.ca/ to find information on all Capitol Theatre performances, including:
- Noémi Kiss & Csinszka Rédai, Soprano & piano this Saturday, October 18th. This is the first in the Nelson Overture Concert Series.
- Cop Shop, Grow Op shows October 25th. Jeff Forst’s original play that razzle-dazzled its packed house last harvest-time, is back by popular demand!
- James and Jamesy in High Tea October 22nd and 23rd. Stage Door, Toronto says “An irresistible delight. They put the ‘play’ (as in spontaneous fun) back into ‘play’ (as in theatre), and remind an adult audience of the children they once were, and still are.”
You can also “like” the Capitol Theatre Facebook page: http://facebook.com/capitolnelson and subscribe to their newsletter.
Come for the entertainment and stay for the night: so much to do and see in the Nelson Kootenay Lake area.