‘The Savoy is worth it’

Glace Bay the­atre will mark its 90th an­niver­sary with spe­cial fundraiser

Cape Breton Post - - GLACE BAY/NEW WATERFORD - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

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.


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