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The Penmar will see its name in lights once more

There are plans to reopen the Penmar theatre as a community centre hub to show movies and to be a place for plays and live musical shows.
November 24, 2013 - 4:23 PM

PENTICTON - The curtains will go up at the Penmar cinema again if Penticton movie and theatre fans and $100,000 have anything to do with it.

That's how much money will be neeed just to get the overhaul ball rolling. More renovations will be required in the future.

CoWork Penticton and the Penticton Community Arts Society will open the doors to the theatre on Dec. 7 to start a membership drive and show a movie. From 12:30 to 4 p.m. residents can review the plans, ask questions, drink hot chocolate and potentially become society members. Children are invited to watch cartoons on the big screen. At 4:30 p.m. the doors will close only to reopen at 6:30 p.m. for a 1950's themed event in honour of the decade the Penmar opened. A sing-a-long version of Grease will be shown.

Jennifer Vincent with Cowork, the Penmar building's owner Jim Morrison and Downtown Penticton Association executive director Kerri Milton believe the Penmar can be successful not only as a place to watch foreign, ethnic and second-run movies, but also as a creative community hub capable of holding stage productions and musical acts.

The idea of reopening the Penmar came to Vincent and her colleagues in the months leading up to its closure last year. It's former tenant, Landmark Cinema, moved its operations to a new and larger theatre on Winnipeg Avenue.

"Once the actual closure happened, and it went dark, there was an opportunity," she said.

Vincent said the Penmar will not be showing first run movies like the Landmark Cinema and does not consider Landmark to be a competitor.

"Landmark had been interested in building a more full service. And we are happy they are providing content of that level."

The upgrades will result in a main auditorium of about 650 seats, a new stage for live performances, a renovated entrance lobby, new upper lobby, upgraded facade and expansion of the building to provide a side stage, a green room, new washrooms and commercial space.

Milton expects two to three full-time jobs will be created by the Penmar along with a dozen or more part-time positions.

The society is a charity but it does not plan to rely heavily on government support to renovate and run the Penmar. Vincent said a business plan shows the centre can be profitable and revenue will come from more than just movie ticket sales.

She did say the society is considering asking the city for a small loan to help them get up and running.

Tickets for the Dec. 7 Grease sing-a-long are $10 and are available at the society's website.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or send tweets to @shannonquesnel1.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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