Council gets low down on Studio Stage Door

The Cranbrook Community Theatre Society was in council on Monday to give an update on the status of the organization.

  • May. 1, 2015 8:00 a.m.
Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook.

Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook.

The Cranbrook Community Theatre Society was in council on Monday to give an update on the status of the organization.

Terry Miller, from the society, said they usually come in to do a report every two years.

The Studio is a 1,000 sq. ft. dance studio space with a lobby, small kitchen, office, makeup room and accessible washrooms. The hardwood floor of the mirrored studio space has been used by dance classes, martial arts classes, yoga, wedding receptions and concerts.

“It is conceivable that thousands of Cranbrookers have attended classes or events of some description in this space,” Miller said. “This past summer we refinished the hardwood floors for the umpteenth and possibly the last time .”

Miller noted it is getting thin.

The second floor of the building houses an 83 soft seated theatre venue — the Stage Door — where the society presents its theatre works.

“It’s a very charming and intimate space,” he said. “It’s also a favourite for musical performances. A locals group for one has been using it for decades. There have been a number of concert series taken place there. Travelling theatre groups and singer/songwriters love to perform there. It is a really nice space.”

Miller gave some the history of the building as well.

“Over the winter of 1908 and 1909 local masons erected a beautiful two-storied building to house their lodge or temple. By 1973, they realized they could no longer afford to heat and maintain the building, so they put it up for sale. The only person that was interested in buying it at the time was the Mount Baker Hotel to knock it down and put in a parking lot.”

The members of the society, including Bud Abbott, among others, lobbied the council of the day to purchase the building. The council obliged and then immediately turned it over to the society to act as stewards.

“CCT have taken their role as stewards very seriously and have put in well over $500,000 in improvements and upgrades over the years,” he said, adding that’s in addition to the thousands of volunteer hours that have also been invested in the building.

In the past five years, the outside of the building has been painted, the HVAC system upgraded, ceiling insulation upgraded, a stairlift added, eaves troves and down spouts installed and re-carpeted the Stage Door lobby and stairs.

The studio dance floor was also refinished.

Miller said that totals $215,000 in the past five years invested in to the building.

The city has provided $2,000 per year since 1974 to help with heating and maintenance costs for the building. In 2009, the city upped that to $3,000 a year.

The city also paid to reroof the building a couple of years ago.

Miller said they continue to keep the building in good health and well used.

“We’re constantly providing professional quality theatre productions and workshops to keep our community entertained, engaged and educated, and give them the opportunity to flex their performing muscles,” he said.

Miller was also happy to see that all the members of council have been in the Studio Stage Door.

“It’s not uncommon for me to present to a council and find that no one has been in that building,” Miller said. “It always amazes me when people come into the building and say ‘oh, this is really nice.’”

He said some have been in Cranbrook all their lives and not visited the building.

Coun. Ron Popoff said the society is doing a great job. He also asked about the rumour of the  building being haunted.

Miller said he’s spent countless hours alone in the building, often in the dark, and never had a run-in.

“As an interesting side point to that, there was a baby born in that building, back to the days of the Masons. They had resident caretakers, whose daughter was born in that building.”

The Cranbrook Community Theatre is also getting set for their upcoming play ‘Skin Flick’ which runs May 1 and 2, 6-9 and 13-16 (See more, page 2).