By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 1, 2013
If you have sat through a performance at Eagle Eye Theatre, squelching nature’s call for fear of disrupting the show, then you will agree with Kathy Daniels.
And if you have ever performed in the theatre, there is a good chance you will nod in agreement too.
Daniels, director of Between Shifts Theatre, wants the school board to suspend disbelief and invest more in one of the few venues left in town for arts and theatre.
The creaking crash bar doors, the acoustics and lighting equipment are as worthy of attention as the splendid performances put on by the cast and crew of Between Shifts and Howe Sound students.
“This is a lovely theatre that languishes without proper care, yet is one of our most wonderful assets in the community,” Daniels said.
The creaking crash bar doors introduce an unintentional sub plot.
With an actor’s flourish, Daniel pushes the imaginary doors with her hands, while she imitates the grating sound of the opening doors.
“Khaar khhaar khssh…all the light spills in, and then they come back in, and khaarkhaar khsss…”
“It’s very, very, distracting, it’s absolutely ridiculous to have that kind of doors.”
The doors, however, is not the only villain in our story.
The theatre also needs to upgrade lighting and sound, which is bad enough to deter other musical groups from trying to perform there.
“When you are acting on that stage, you realize something is wrong with the sound here,” she said.
Arts groups like Between Shifts also have to book the theatre in four-hour increments from the school board.
If they stay over four hour, they are charged for four more hours, not for the time spent.
“As soon as the play ends, there is a mad scramble,” Daniels says.
An improved theatre and a trained staff will also help in getting theatre bookings to bring in extra revenue.
Some of these bookings could include travelling Arts Club productions, which go to other small towns in B.C., but often skip Squamish.
These companies pay commercial rates, and can help to bring in the much-needed revenue for the local theatre, Daniel says.
No one at Howe Sound Secondary uses the theatre more than Janice Carroll, a theatre teacher.
Carroll said her group loves the theatre, but would appreciate if the soft wooden floor could be replaced by a harder wood.
Lighting fixtures with multiple effects and more storage space would go a long way in improving the theatre, she says.
The Eagle Eye Theatre was constructed in the mid-1990s when Howe Sound was undergoing a renovation and expansion project.
The district contributed $300,000 to the capital costs for this expansion.
The operations of the theatre are governed by a Joint-Use Agreement between the SD 48 and the district, with rental rates collections of around $15,000 a year.
The district also contributes $5,000 per year towards major equipment needs.
There are currently no proposals for renovation.