Community Papers

Nelson Civic Theatre's concession campaign takes off

Civic Theatre staff members Liam Long and Alecia Maslechko ham it up with the old popcorn machine. - submitted photo
Civic Theatre staff members Liam Long and Alecia Maslechko ham it up with the old popcorn machine.
— image credit: submitted photo

“To infinity and beyond!” is the catchphrase of Buzz Lightyear, animated hero of Disney’s Toy Story movie. “To $15,000 and beyond!” is the theme of the Nelson Civic Theatre’s concession upgrade campaign. Like the hero, the Nelson Civic Theatre Society aims to reach its goal.

The launch of the fundraising campaign for this phase of the Civic’s revitalization and the launch of Buzz Lightyear’s rocket have some things in common according to fundraising project manager Roger Ley.

“There is so much energy behind this,” he says. “People can see how far we’ve come, with new seats, full digitization, regular movies and community programming. But we’re listening to our members: the concession is old and inefficient. It’s affecting people’s theatre experience.”

The current popcorn machine is undersized for demand, existing coolers are insufficient, and layout is inefficient. The concession upgrade will mean faster service, greater variety, and the ability to pop enough popcorn to satisfy the Civic’s larger-than average crowds.

A new concession is also essential to the theatre’s bottom line, explains Ley.

“As long as we remain a single-screen playing popular films, our events and programming opportunities are limited,” he says, referring to film scheduling dictated by the major film distributors. “Additional revenue from an upgraded concession will help offset our staffing and operational costs so we can focus our future fundraising on our long-term plan to renovate into three theatres.”

A part of the Society’s plan since its inception, three theatres allows for much more programming flexibility for movies and film festivals, local performances, and community events, Ley explains.

Having raised over $330,000 so far, the $15,000 target represents the remaining five per cent of funds required to release a $50,000 matching grant from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.

Seat sponsorships are available at $250; seat sponsors will be displayed on the donor wall when the lobby renovation is

completed, but Ley emphasizes that donations of any size will be gratefully accepted.

“Just 60 seat sponsors will get us there”, says Ley. Echoing Buzz Lightyear, he adds: “A new concession is within our grasp!”

A Toy Story-style rocket ship located in the lobby will track donations as the Nelson Civic Theatre shoots for $15,000 — and beyond. Donations can be made online at or by dropping in to the theatre a half hour before showtime.

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