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Penmar Theatre gets stripped clean

Board members of the nonprofit formed to give the Penmar Theatre a new lease on life, received a shock on the weekend.

During a walk through Sunday of the old Penticton theatre, they found everything from seats to projectors and even the concession stand had been removed from the building.

"It was stripped of all furnishings, equipment and wall dressings," said board member Jennifer Vincent. "And what we have now is an empty shell."

According to the members of the Penmar Community Arts Society, the previous lease holders. Landmark Cinemas, whose lease expired Nov. 30, engaged a company to remove all the contents.

Much of what was taken out was placed in dumpsters in the parking lot.

Adding to their disappointment was the fact that the old projectors and other items of historical interest were supposed to be donated to the Penticton Museum and Archives.

Brian McIntosh, CEO of Landmark, could not be reached for comment. 

While Landmark is the previous tenant, the property itself is owned by Jim Morrison, president of the society,  and four others.

The nonprofit group was incorporated in April 2013, after the Penmar closed in October, 2012. Their goal is to restore the theater and make the New Penmar the focal point for their operations.

Although this is a setback, it certainly doesn't mean it will be quiet on the set.

The nonprofit is going ahead with the launch of their membership drive on Saturday, Dec. 7.

From 12:30 to 4 p.m. there will be an open house where people can review the plans, ask questions and become charter members of the society.

Then at 6:30 p.m., the doors are slated to re-open for a 50's themed event, in honour of the decade the theatre on Martin Street opened.

The evening's program will include a short presentation about the revitalization project followed by a  screening of the singalong version of "Grease."

"We are taking this as a positive, the seats needed to be replaced anyways, and it's much easier to envision our future plans on this blank slate," said Vincent.

Fellow board member Kerri Milton, executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association, added the Penmar continues to be an  important part of the downtown revitalization plan.

Tickets are $10 for the evening of entertainment. People are encouraged to dress for the theme, 50s style.

Tickets are limited and can be purchased online at www.penmar.ca.



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