Some great names have played the Cowichan Theatre (now the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre) in the past 40 years. (Submitted)

From introducing k.d. lang to honouring Gordon Lightfoot, Cowichan Theatre has had busy 40 years

40-year retrospective has offered theatregoers a glimpse of Cowichan’s entertainment history

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre has celebrated 40 years of performing arts in Cowichan with a poster retrospective.

During the month of November, the Centre lobby featured show posters and photographs commemorating its 40th anniversary with a historical gallery display.

In November 1978, the Cowichan Community Centre opened it doors. The building included an ice rink, gymnasium, library and a 731-seat theatre, that to this day, has the largest stage on Vancouver Island.

The first performance held at the Cowichan Theatre (now known as the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre) was on February 9, 1979, and from that day forward, it continued to serve as a community theatre for local groups and had some of the biggest names in music, theatre, dance, comedy and film from around the world.

The exhibition has featured show posters from Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall, Dizzy Gillespie and Mo Kauffman, to Gordon Lightfoot, The Barenaked Ladies, Buffy Sainte Marie, The Nylons, k.d. lang, Mr. Dressup, Margie Gillis, Fred Penner, Bekkanko Oni from Tokyo, Front Page Challenge, The Vinyl Café and so much more!

Assistant Technical Director Dave Barton was one of the first employees of the Cowichan Theatre and is still working there today.

When asked what he remembers about those days as he wandered through the gallery, he said, “The Cowichan Theatre was one of the first places kd lang played…it was back when she was still doing cow punk,” he reminisced. “We’ve had some of the greats pass through here; some who are no longer with us like Rita MacNeil. What can I say about Rita…she was just so nice! And Stuart McLean from The Vinyl Café, we all miss Stuart. Doug and the Slugs was such a fun band, we all had a great time working that show. Rest in Peace, Doug Bennett.”

Another long-time employee Archie Byatt remembers fondly the very first performance at the theatre.

“Back then we had a covered entrance at the front of the building. All of the ushers were dressed in blue blazers and they were greeting the patrons as they arrived and escorting them upstairs to the performance. It was very sophisticated.”



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Plantitude giving Ladysmith vegans equal footing

New downtown restaurant believed to be downtown’s first featuring all vegan options

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

Volunteers take down after another successful Ladysmith Festival of Lights

Good crowd comes out for a sunny Sunday volunteer session of taking down decorations

Blood moon over Ladysmith

Gerry Beltgens shook off cold fingers this weekend to capture this image… Continue reading

Reflections of Ladysmith: The Art of Michael Dean

Work, place and people are inseparable for Vancouver Island painter

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Vancouver Island pot giant Tilray buying Ontario cannabis company for $70 million

Nanaimo cannabis company to acquire Natura Naturals and Ontario greenhouse facility

Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with taxpayers’ money

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Most Read