‘Full circle’: After 7 years, Roxy Theater reopens its doors in Edmonton – Edmonton

It was a reopening of the times Thursday night when, after seven long years, Roxy Theater reopened its doors and heart to the Edmontonians.

“I’m so excited. I’m excited to be able to reopen, that we can see people again. I’m just really grateful to be here,” said Theater Network Chairman Jared Tabler.

A festive event was held in the theater at 124 Street and 107 Avenue Thursday night for donors, board members and artists.

“It’s so cool, and it’s a moment in a very full circle,” said Ellie Heath, a performer with Girl Brain, who was part of the Roxy performance series at the Old Theater.

“My first role ever outside of theater school was on Roxy … Being one of the first performers on stage in the new space is like a dream come true. I can not even really wrap my head about it. It’s just amazing. ”

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The old Roxy Theater was destroyed by fire in 2015. It was a devastating blow to those at the theater as well as Edmonton’s art scene as a whole.

“It’s a little emotional,” Tabler said. “The journey to get here, to rebuild.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton's Roxy Theater rises from the ashes'

Edmonton’s Roxy Theater rises from the ashes

Edmonton’s Roxy Theater Rises from the Ashes – February 9, 2018

There was a time when the board was not sure a rebuild was possible. But with funding from all levels of government, the Theater Network board and many other generous donors, $ 12 million was raised to build the brand new space.

“It was definitely a love job,” said board member Lewis Cardinal. “It is here in a newer form, and I think it will provide many opportunities for young artists to participate in it, and new shows must be created. So that is very positive.

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“It’s an epitome of character, you know, a kind of Phoenix rising with something new that is still grounded in what it is, and what it was, and what it can be.”

The new Roxy is designed by Group 2 Architecture and Interior Design and includes two performance rooms, a rehearsal room, a visual arts gallery and a roof terrace.

The 200-seat Nancy Power Theater, the venue’s main stage theater, is named after Theater Network’s first chairman.

The smaller Lorne Cardinal Theater – also known as the black box theater – is a versatile space for theater productions, live music, dance, film and art installations.

“My brother, Lorne, he has been a road builder and he has really created opportunities for other young people to learn the craft, learn his art, which we hope will inspire young indigenous people and really just young people in general,” Cardinal said. .

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Although the building may be new, Roxy still pays homage to its iconic roots.

“From the art deco details in the main bathroom to the colors we chose in the Nancy Power main stage, they are all little nods back to the old building,” Tabler said.

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The grand opening celebrations continue throughout the weekend, with the public invited to see the space on Friday and the launch of the visual arts program on Saturday. Anyone who wants to see the square can sign up for free tickets on the Theater Network’s website.

“There’s a heartbeat here,” Heath said.

“It is not only artists who appreciate theater. These are people in our society. Just to feel – especially after the pandemic, especially after two years away from the stage and especially after seven years away from the Roxy scene – being in a room with people who just really want to make it happen and really want to show up for the art of our city – incredible.

The theater network still has about $ 400,000 to raise for the project.

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