Majestic Theatre - Bashaw, Alberta
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member wildwoodke
N 52° 35.071 W 112° 58.202
12U E 366531 N 5827875
Quick Description: This theatre was originally used for magic lantern projections, a Church, motion pictures, and most recently live stage performances by a local theatre troop in Bashaw, Alberta.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 5/10/2012 9:51:09 PM
Waymark Code: WMEDBE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Majestic Theatre has a long history and has undergone several changes. The sign outside tells the passing visitor about its history:

Majestic Theatre

The building was constructed in 1916 and was likely built by Eugene Bashaw for Mrs. Ella Wing of Ponoka, Alberta. It was used intermittently by Mr. Sam Rutherford, a projectionist from Camrose, Alberta for a travelling magic lantern show until 1921 when Tom Stranatka, a projectionist from Mirror, Alberta bought it. He converted it into a theatre where he showed silent films and held plays. In 1928 it was bought by J.R. Whitney, who used it as an insurance office but also transformed the Majestic into a motion picture theatre. In late 1928 the building was sold to the Catholic Church, from then until 1940 the building served as a Church and also as a Social Gathering Centre during the Depression. In 1940 the building was sol back to Whitney, who renovated adding a sloped floor, exit doors and stuccoing the exterior. Films were once again shown. In 1946 the property was sold to Joe and Florence Dick, further renovations were made and it was renamed the “Dixy Theatre”. Selling again in 1961 to Clarence Scheider who installed the flip up seats and re-leveling the floor. It continued to operate as the local theatre until 1984 under the name of “Dixy Theatre”.

It was actively restored in 2004 to the Majestic Theatre and is now being preserved by the “Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society” a local amateur theatre group. Today, local productions ensure that a tradition of live theatre continues in Bashaw and provides a venue where local amateur artists may practice their talents.

More details are provided on the town's website:

A rural, wood frame "Boomtown" style of theatre, Bashaw's Majestic Theatre was not the first of its kind to be built in Alberta but is now believed to be the last remaining theatre of its kind in western Canada. Never a "grand theatre" by any means, the Majestic is nonetheless, of historical and architectural significance as part of the overall history of theatre development in Alberta. Built in 1915, the Majestic serves as one indicator of Alberta's early settlement history and has been home to magic lantern shows, local theatre productions, silent movies, and early "talkies". Serving as Bashaw's first Catholic Church for a time, the theatre resumed its role as modern movie theatre in the 1940's when it was renamed the 'Dixy'.

The exterior of the building, now restored to its ca 1930 façade, replicates a photograph from the same time period, and with the possible exception of white paint, is how the theatre would have looked in 1915. Likely built by Eugene Bashaw, founder of the Town of Bashaw, at the request of Mrs. Ella Wing of Ponoka who acquired the property in 1913, local theatrical productions, 'concerts' and other social events were held in the buildings as were traveling 'magic lantern' shows which pre-dated 'silent film' era technology. Purchased by a local projectionist, the building opened its doors as the Majestic Theatre in June of 1921. The first known silent film shown in the theatre was a Paramount Art Craft film starring Ethel Claymore in 'More Deadly Than the Male', accompanied by a Max Sennett comedy film and the very next week the first movie version of 'Last of the Mohicans' was entrancing local audiences.

Founded in 1998, the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society is a registered non profit organization whose goal is to preserve and restore the old Majestic Theatre as a self sustaining working theatre museum. As part of this endeavor, the Majestic Players, an amateur theatre group came into being to assist in fundraising efforts. Acquired from the Town of Bashaw in 1998, by 2000, the Majestic was designated an Alberta Registered Historical Resource as well as a Government of Canada Millennium Bureau of Canada Project. Working in partnership with dozens of local and non local volunteers as well as corporate provincial and federal supporters, the Majestic Theatre Restoration Project is now in its final phase, which involves interior restoration and development. Restored and re-integrated back into the community as a working live theatre museum, the Majestic will once again serve its original function which was to bring rural and urban people of all ages, backgrounds and genders together in pursuit of a richer cultural and social community life.

If you would like to help the Majestic Theatre resume its rightful and historical place in this community and within the province of Alberta, please contact the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society in Bashaw, Alberta. Membership in the Society is open to everyone. Through your assistance and involvement, the Majestic Theatre Project will continue to play a role in the community, economic and tourism development, promoting Bashaw to the world outside our boundaries.


Theater Name: Majestic Theatre

Country: Canada

50th Street and 51st Avenue
Bashaw, Alberta Canada
T0B 0H0

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Community Theater

Type of Productions:
Small stage productions by a local group

Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: 1916

Architect/Designer: Eugene Bashaw

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 80

Special Productions/Events/Festivals: Not listed

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