Small theatres change enterprise fashions to outlive pandemic

On Saturday, the Rio Theatre opened its doorways for the primary time as a sports activities bar.

Family teams, wearing hockey gear, had been spaced out within the theatre to observe the Canucks sport.


Earlier within the week, proprietor Corinne Lea introduced the venue can be utilizing its current liquor license to become a sports bar. Beneath the present provincial guidelines, bars and eating places will be open, however film theatres can’t.

“We’re simply doing what we will to remain alive,” Lea stated Saturday. “This entire resolution of preserving cinemas closed is fallacious.”

Different small theatres throughout Vancouver have additionally needed to change their enterprise to remain afloat. The Dunbar Theatre has by no means closed due to the pandemic. It moved straight to personal screenings and providing up food and drinks by means of meals supply apps.


“We’re doing a number of popcorn, a number of donuts, a number of refreshments, Uber eats,” stated Ken Charko, president of the Dunbar Theatre.

He says family teams ebook out the theatre for screenings and different occasions; lately there was a piano recital with three folks. Charko agrees with Lea that theatres shouldn’t be ordered to shut.

“We aren’t social gathering occasions, we’re not a rave within the night time, we’re not a Automobile-Free Day or something like that, we’re a non-public group going right into a theatre not speaking,” he stated.


The Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway is providing cocktails, snacks and a Completely satisfied Hour. The web site additionally tells customers to “stay tuned” for particular occasion bulletins.

The necessity for theatres to vary up enterprise is a priority for Mel Lehan, a Kitsilano resident who’s a part of the Save the Hollywood Coalition, an area group who helped save The Hollywood from demolition again in 2018.

He hopes venues will nonetheless come again as theatres, after they’re in a position to.


“It’s a group area,” he stated. “We nonetheless want the Dunbar. We want the Rio. We nonetheless want the Hollywood, and our group and different teams across the metropolis are going to make it possible for occurs.”