JERICHO ARTS CENTRE OPENING NIGHT GALA

Jericho Arts Centre, Vancouver, B.C.19 JANUARY 2004

What was once part of the Ministry of Defence is now the flourishing Centre for the Arts. By the efforts of the United Players of Vancouver in co-operation with the West Point Grey Community Association and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, what used to be known as "the Jericho gym" has been transformed into a new theatre and exhibition hall. Here you may see the work of local painters, sculptors and potters displayed, or enjoy the music of small instrumental ensembles, watch in admiration the skill and artistry of dancers and enjoy the dramatic presentations of the United Players and other smaller theatre companies.

The opening night gala on Sunday night was a festive occasion with the centre full of excited guests eager to celebrate this great achievement. On display was an architect's model of the plans for the future expansion of the centre, which would encompass increased floor space with a second floor which would hold a rehearsal space. Lighting catwalks and other physical improvements are also envisioned to facilitate operating the theatre.

Regaled with food and drink the company was introduced by Andree Karas, artistic director of the United Players, to representatives of the various organizations who are associated with the Centre. Among those who brought greetings were the president of the West Point Grey Community Centre, Edward Peck, the vice-chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Loretta Woodcock, Jerry Wennes, a musician and V.P, West Point Grey Community Association, Pia Sillem, an artist, Luke Beattie, artistic director of Vanguard Theatre Company, and Richard Strachan, chair Jericho Arts Centre Committee. A beautiful baby grand piano, donated by Dr. Mary Davison, was unveiled by the generous donor. After a short interval for more refreshment a programme of dancing, music, poetry reading and comedy was presented by the performing arts companies who are scheduled in this season's brochure. In the new display cases in the reception area Pia Sillem's ceramics were on exhibition.

This was a great evening to celebrate the achievement of a permanent theatre for the United Players and other theatre companies, small orchestras and dance companies and a gallery for visual artists. The United Players will be opening Andromache on January 30th, 2004.  After 13 years of being tenants at Jericho they are now the resident company, rising phoenix-like from the shell of the old building and blazing a future for the Arts in West Point Grey.

2004, Jane Penistan


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