No laughing matter: Second Storey closes

Second Storey Theatre owner Graham Myers is closing his business in Port Coquitlam
Second Storey Theatre owner Graham Myers is closing his business in Port Coquitlam's Leigh Square on Sept. 1.
— image credit: PHOTO SUMITTED

The arts and culture scene in Port Coquitlam was dealt another blow this week after the owner of Second Storey Theatre announced he’ll close up shop this summer.

Graham Myers told The Tri-City News he was unable to turn a profit on his improv/comedy business, located on the edge of the downtown Leigh Square Community Arts Village.

And after the workshops and weekend shows end in late July, he’ll have a garage sale to clear out assets before he turns over the keys for the space on Sept. 1.

“It’s been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” Myers said. “I kind of made the decision in May after you do your taxes and find out where you’re at.”

Myers opened the theatre in 2009 and had a main stage cast of 15 volunteers plus a program for younger improv comedians.

Over the past five years, they have performed in high schools and city events, and held drop-in classes. As well, Second Storey attracted some big industry names, including Kids in the Hall’s Kevin McDonald.

Come this fall, Myers said he and his crew will be available for bookings and running a Monday workshop in a room above the Terry Fox Theatre.

“I’ve looked at other venues — warehouses, retail shops — and they’re astronomically unaffordable for me,” he said. “There’s not even a chance in heck I could do it even if I wanted to.”

PoCo Coun. Michael Wright, chair of the city’s healthy community committee, said he doesn’t like what’s going on with the arts and culture locally.

Last month, Joy Sawyer of Coquitlam Music announced her retirement and the closure of her Shaughnessy Street store after 43 years.

As well, the city has been without an arts and culture co-ordinator since last fall when Yvonne Chui left.

“It’s not good,” Wright told The Tri-City News yesterday. “I’m disappointed in the state of the arts in community at the moment because there have been several losses.

“There used to be a vibrant arts scene here but now businesses are feeling the pinch and vacancies are being closely examined by the city,” he said. “We need to take leadership.”

Wright said he expects some discussion about the matter with the healthy community committee this summer when a report from city staff is completed.



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