Broadway Theatre (Saskatoon)
|Address||715 Broadway Avenue|
|Location||Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada|
|Owner||Friends of the Broadway Theatre, Inc.|
|Type||Movie palace, Performing arts center|
|Seating type||Fixed seats|
|Opened||December 5, 1946|
|Closed||August 2, 1993 (re-opened October 1993)|
The Broadway Theatre is an art film and performance theatre located on Broadway Avenue in the Nutana neighborhood of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The theatre is Canada's only community-owned non-profit reparatory cinema.
The Streamline Moderne style movie theatre was designed by George Forrester with the architectural firm of Webster and Gilbert and opened on December 5, 1946. The theatre was Broadway's entertainment destination during the post-World War II years. It screened popular movies of the period and hosted some live musical performances on the stage in front of the movie screen. Following the neighbourhood's decline starting in the 1950s, the theatre fell into disrepute by the 1970s when it became an "adult" movie theatre. It was restored as an art film cinema and live performance venue during the 1980s. It was designated a municipal heritage property on April 14, 1997.
On August 2, 1993, the Broadway Theatre abruptly closed its doors. After a public fundraising drive, it was purchased by the Friends of the Broadway Theatre, Inc., a non-profit organization with charitable status dedicated to the preservation and renovation of the theatre. It reopened in October 1993, resuming its previous role. In addition to art, Canadian and regional cinema, the theatre also hosts some live music performances. Since 1993 it has been truly owned by the community (as a non-profit with charitable status, as well as recognition civically and federally as a heritage building).
After many difficult years of fundraising and major physical renovations in 2001-2004, the Broadway had been largely restored. From 2008 onwards, the theatres' various boards and staff worked hard to transition the Broadway from predominantly an art-house cinema to a full-fledged arts and culture centre.
As of 2015, the Broadway has won 5 awards from its own business district (including "Business of the Year"), as well as the 2014 Lieutenant Governors' Arts Award for "Arts Leadership in the Province".
The programming at the Broadway has shifted dramatically. As of 2015 the theatre welcomes 65-70,000 visitors each year for: +65 live music concerts, +55 live theatre/dance/comedy events, corporate/private/school events, hundreds of rental events and much more. In 2010 the Broadway became a buyer and producer of many live events-bringing almost 100 shows from then into 2015.
In 2014 "Broadway Satellite Events" was launched, with the Broadway becoming an active presenter of events off-site. In its first year, this arm presented 11 live shows in 4 other venues, with most being sold out.
Recent years have also seen the Broadway become a leader in "greening" their business. This includes acquisition of a brand new L.E.D stage lighting rig, renovating their iconic neon sign with L.ED, utilizing a vast majority of recycled/compostables for their consumables, and in 2015 placing Saskatoon's 2nd largest solar array on their roof.
The theatre seats 240 in a centre bank of seats with another 95 in each of the side banks for a total of 430 seats, plus 6 wheelchair stations. The stage is of a proscenium style, made of black masonite and measures 10.79 metres (35.4 ft) wide and 7.32 metres (24.0 ft) deep. The movie screen is 7.8 metres (26 ft) wide by 3.77 metres (12.4 ft) high, with a projection throw of 31.39 metres (103.0 ft). The lobby has terrazzo flooring and recessed valance lighting around the doorways to the theatre area.
The theatre changed hands and focus several times, including:
- 1947–1959 Odeon
- 1967–1975 Famous Players
- 1977–1983 Adult movie theatre
- 1984–1985 Live performances
- 1987 Movie theatre
- 1993 Friends of the Broadway
- "SaskPower Financial Support for Broadway Theatre". Government of Saskatchewan. June 18, 2003. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Collections". Saskatoon Public Library. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- Ward, Caitlin (September 10, 2007). "Changing Lanes – Broadway District Filled with Colourful History". Planet S Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Broadway Theatre". Municipal Heritage Properties. City of Saskatoon – Planning and Development Branch. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Behind the Scenes". Broadway Theatre. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Broadway Theatre Rental Information" (PDF). Broadway Theatre. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "The Broadway Theatre". Canadian Register of Historic Places. Parks Canada. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- Rivest, Mike. "History of Movie Theatres in Saskatchewan". Retrieved 2011-04-13.