‘The Savoy is worth it’
Glace Bay theatre will mark its 90th anniversary with special fundraiser
The manager of the Savoy Theatre came up with a great fundraising idea with “raindrops falling on her head.”
“I was in the shower,” said Pam Leader, laughing, “I was getting ready for our January board meeting. I was thinking we needed a really good fundraiser, there’s so much work to do here. I was thinking it’s the Savoy’s 90th anniversary, why not ask people for $90, that would be $1 a year.”
With the board’s support, the 90 for 90 fundraiser begins today and they will use social media as well as a phone and letter campaign to reach donors.
Leader said they will be looking for devoted supporters who love and appreciate the Glace Bay theatre including artists, patrons and community leaders.
They are hoping for 1,000 donations of $90 from the public and 90 donations of $1,000 from businesses.
“That’s it. So if people get a call from someone saying it’s me or someone else on the staff of the Savoy, it really is us. We’d really rather touch base with people personally if we can over the next few weeks.”
Donations will be accepted in a variety of ways including Visa, MasterCard, debit, cheques and e-transfers.
The first 90 people making donations will be entered into a draw for two tickets for any show in 2017.
Leader said at one time the Savoy was a 50 per cent rental space and 50 per cent productions space however now they are at an 80 per cent production and 20 per cent rental.
“Any fundraising goes into operations where we’re doing sets and costumes and be able to produce the shows we want to produce, like “Beauty and the Beast” coming in October.”
For the past 90 years, the Savoy Theatre has hosted every type of event imaginable from musicals, galas and community assemblies to weddings, movies, fashion shows, dinner theatres, concerts and political announcements.
The Savoy has also had some big names on the stage including the late Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family, the Men of the Deeps and visitors such as Stompin’ Tom Connors, Maureen Forrester, The Irish Rovers, Blue Rodeo and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
There are not only great stories from the Savoy stage, but from the walls in the dead of night as well.
“We had a group of ghost hunters ask if they could sleep here one night,” she said. “We left them in here all night and they hooked up their machines and listened for the ghosts. They did hear funny things on it but nothing they could prove.”
There have also been romantic moments including a marriage proposal during a Jimmy Rankin concert.
“I knew it was going to happen, but the audience didn’t know and the girlfriend didn’t know,” Leader said.
Rankin called the man up on stage and he proposed from the stage and she said yes.
As well Leader’s friend Heather Kerr-Merrill married her now husband Kevin on the stage.
“She has been on stage at the Savoy, her mother Wendy Kerr was always on stage and her brother Chris Kerr does sound here. She just felt a connection to the Savoy.”
“We want to keep (the Savoy) here to make it to our 100th birthday obviously. There are lots of nice venues but there’s nothing quite like the Savoy.”
Leader said like most buildings, the Savoy needs maintenance and it’s hoped between fundraising and government help that repairs will be made over the next year.
In the meantime Leader hopes Savoy fans will step up and help them out.
“The Savoy is worth it.”
The Savoy Theatre in 1950.
The Savoy Theatre as it looks today.