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Mission & History

Mission Statement

To promote interest in and advance knowledge of the dramatic arts, literature and music, provide facilities for training education and advancement in artistic endeavour by maintaining and operating an active theatre company and provide opportunity for members to participate in all aspects of community theatre on a self sustaining basis.

History of the Powerhouse Theatre

The story of the Powerhouse is the story of how an abandoned, ivy-covered building became home to a group of talented, hard working volunteers who, over the course of the last forty-five years, have won numerous awards and continue to put on quality shows to near sell-out audiences.

In 1962, the former Vernon electrical power house, then a warehouse, was slated for demolition.  That was when members of the Vernon City Council approached two young architects, Doug Huggins and Drew Allen, to see whether the building would make a suitable fire hall. At the same time, as luck would have it, the Vernon Little Theatre group, whose members had been rehearsing and performing in the Scout Hall, school auditoriums and the Canadian Legion, were looking for a permanent home.

Doug and Drew decided that although the power house would not be suitable for a fire hall, it would be ideal for a theatre. Members of  Vernon Little Theatre struck up a building committee, adding a third architect, Terry Gower. They approached the City Council with their proposal on a Friday and spent the weekend drawing plans to present to the council on Monday, the day the building was due to be demolished.  City staff approved the plans and work began.

For the next few months, sixty-five volunteers donated three thousand hours of work and fund raising activities to create the community’s theatre: an auditorium with 150 seats, a foyer, club room, costume storage area, lighting dimmer board, sound board, workshop, and, of course, a stage.

On November 23, 1963, the Vernon Powerhouse Theatre was officially opened.  Ten years later, BC Hydro sold the Powerhouse Theatre to the City of Vernon, which, in turn, handed it over to the Theatrical Arts Centre for a dollar, provided the Vernon Little Theatre continued to perform plays for the community.

Over the next forty years, many improvements were made to the building, and it now has 250 seats.

Click here to see a YouTube video trailer for the film A Gem in the Making by Randy “Bones” Jones which was done for the 40th anniversary of Powerhouse Theatre. Full versions of the fim are available at a cost of $10.00. Email us at info@powerhousetheatre.net for more information.