The Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre in Victoria is closing its location at the Roxy Theatre site at the end of the year.
On Dec. 31, the Blue Bridge theatre will move out of the space at 2657 Quadra St., with the hopes of finding a new location.
“We are sad to be leaving, we are sad to not have this venue for the community anymore,” Rebekah Johnson, general manager at Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, said.
In the meantime, Blue Bridge is looking to sell off all of its equipment, including lighting and sound technology, as well as props, costumes and furniture.
“Look for opportunities during the week between Christmas and New Year’s to come lend a hand in exchange for something that catches your eye or buy a few odds and ends as we clear out 10 years of shows and memories,” said the theatre in a release Tuesday.
The money raised through the costume and equipment sale will help pay off the theatre company’s community debts.
The show must go on
While the Roxy Theatre is being handed back over to its landlord, Blue Bridge says it is “actively looking” for another venue for next year.
“Please be assured that the remainder of the 2024 season is not cancelled at this time,” said the theatre. “We will not be in the Roxy Theatre, but we are actively exploring other venues in town for these shows.”
Blue Bridge says it did its best to stay afloat, particularly during the pandemic. However, audience levels haven’t returned to pre-pandemic norms, and the theatre says it has struggled to secure enough funding to continue operating.
Johnson told CHEK News the company’s expenses have outstripped the revenue, and it could no longer make its lease payments.
“We would like to thank our supporters and our patrons with all our hearts,” reads the release. “You have made all this possible.”
As many productions were affected by restrictions and illness, pandemic-related costs are being felt across Victoria’s theatre community.
Mark Dusseault, with the Belfry Theatre, said over the last few years, there have been so many stops and starts, as well as changing rules and regulations.
“Last season, we lost a couple of weeks of a show because the actors got Covid. So we had to shut everything down for a little while,” Dusseault explained.
He said the Belfry’s patronage is coming back, but it’s still making up for pandemic-related costs.
Dusseault said Blue Bridge leaving the Roxy is sad and leaves a hole in the local theatre community.
“There’s so many people you know that had jobs, or would have jobs, there acting, designing, directing, all that sort of stuff is gone,” he said. “I feel for the people and for the company in that way, for sure.”
According to the Blue Bridge website, the theatre has entertained more than 100,000 audience members and received dozens of local theatre awards and nominations.
It’s also offered more than 400 young industry workers a chance to work in the arts, including as actors, technicians and administrators.
“These last days at The Roxy will be tough for all of us here at Blue Bridge, but your generosity and support of our work has made it all worthwhile,” said the theatre. “Your continued support in these troubled times has meant so much to us.”
CHEK News reached out to Fisgard Asset Management, the owner of the Roxy, who said there are no current plans for the theatre’s future but hopes another theatre can move in.
-With files from CHEK’s Mackenzie Read