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Funding campaigns help Chemainus Theatre stage a comeback

Matching donations go a long way toward 2022 full season reopening
Gregg Perry, left, and Dr. Don Hilton are happy to lend their support to the Chemainus Theatre’s Return To Stage campaign. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Three stages of funding from community and corporate support have helped the Chemainus Theatre endure the void from no stage performances since the start of COVID-19 in March of 2020 until now.

Appropriately named the Crisis Relief Fund, Bridge The Gap and most recently Return To Stage campaigns, the theatre is indeed ready for a staged return beginning with the Holiday Jubilation concert Dec. 8-23.

Related story: Holiday Jubilation a momentous occasion for Chemainus Theatre

Dr. Don Hilton and Gregg Perry, together with Island Savings, Duncan Iron Works, and Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn, collectively pledged $85,000 toward a Return to Stage matched giving campaign.

Related story: Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

“The campaign is so continual,” said the theatre’s managing director Randy Huber. “These two gents coming through with their support is the catalyst we need to re-energize and get back to programming.”

The Perry and Hilton families are long-time advocates of the theatre and were central to the previous matched campaign.

Each dollar donated to the theatre for the Return To Stage will be matched up to $85,000. If fully matched, the funds will help the theatre get through the last of its extended intermissions and put it back on track to produce a full 2022 season.

“Randy tells me $50,000 have come in since that campaign started,” said Hilton. “He’s hoping to equal that or surpass that. It’s amazing what they were able to do with the competent staff here.”

Perry has an extra special connection as the theatre’s inaugural artistic director from 1993-1995.

“I poured a lot into this when it was first starting,” said Perry. “There was a lot of inertia to get it off the ground.

“I was there to talk about what I’d seen at Rosebud (Alberta) and what a wonderful thing it had become.”

“If it wasn’t for Gregg in those first few years the theatre wouldn’t have been here,” praised Huber. “There’s no question about it.”

Perry and Hilton are glad to do whatever they can to make sure it stages a big comeback from the COVID hiatus.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to do it,” said Perry.

The corporate support is also vital, with the three main players in the lead roles.

“We’re very pleased to assist the Chemainus Theatre with this matching donor campaign,” noted Jason Farrugia, branch manager for Island Savings Credit Union in Chemainus.

“The theatre represents more than shows or goods, it represents community. We wish a fabulous season to the staff and patrons, as they have waited patiently over the last 18 months to be able to enjoy the theatre and the artistic expression it showcases.”

“As a community, we need to support one another, and in acknowledging that the Chemainus Theatre truly embodies the spirit of this community, we at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn feel privileged to support our friends in the opening of their 2022 season with heartfelt, optimistic enthusiasm,” added general manager Wayne Lynch.

“As a long time supporter of the Chemainus Theatre, it is our pleasure to become involved in this very important matching campaign,” offered Duncan Iron Works general manager Brent Dellebuur. “We have all been extremely patient in waiting for the day when we can return to live performances. This campaign will help carry the theatre until it can get back to welcoming audiences back to the venue we all love in 2022.”

“We are incredibly thankful for the generosity of this group and hope you will partner with them to re-ignite the stage so we can gather again for great stories and music,” pointed out Huber. “With your help, we are ready to build on our three-decade track record. What a wonderful, shared legacy.”

Donations to the theatre’s campaign can be made here

The stage is set for a full season of theatre again in 2022 at the Chemainus Theatre with the current fundraising campaign that’s underway supported with substantial contributions from Gregg Perry, left, and Dr. Don Hilton. The Holiday Jubilation concert for Christmas will be a stepping stone. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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