Victoria’s two biggest theatres are getting quite the party for their 100th birthdays.
Both the Royal and McPherson theatres will mark a century as rich cultural beacons in Greater Victoria next May, when organizers put on a full week of programming to reflect both the classical and contemporary music and dance that have sustained both venues over the decades.
“Victoria was still very much a frontier town in 1914, and it’s hard to overestimate the impact that the Royal and McPherson theatres had on the city’s cultural life when they first opened,” said Lloyd Fitzsimonds, executive director of the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society.
Until the Royal opened, the Victoria Symphony was playing out of a ballroom in the Empress hotel, Fitzsimonds said.
“It’s inconceivable to think the Victoria Symphony (and Pacific Opera Victoria) would have evolved as they did without these theatres,” he said. “To have not one, but two, theatres in our city that are 100 years old … is almost unheard of in Canada.”
The May 18-25 party includes several free events, including a 100th birthday celebration in Centennial Square on May 18.
Internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Crystal Pite will present her production of The Tempest Replica on May 21; Raffi performs at the Royal May 25; and Daniel Lapp leads a West Coast roots celebration May 23 at the McPherson Playhouse.
Rifflandia producer Nick Blasko is also creating an indie rock evening called Rock the Royal on May 24, with acts being announced closer to the event.
For a full schedule, visit rm100.ca or call the McPherson box office at 250-386-6121 for tickets.