Prince Rupert celebrates Lester Centre’s 25th anniversary

This May marks the 25th anniversary of one of Prince Rupert’s finest institutions, the Lester Centre of the Arts.

This May marks the 25th anniversary of one of Prince Rupert’s finest institutions, the Lester Centre of the Arts.

The facility has housed thousands of local, Canadian and international talents over the past quarter-century, as well as serving as a venue for various other community functions.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Lester Centre hosted a Gala that included a wide-range of local talents to celebrate the past twenty-five years.

The gala began in the early evening with a wine and cheese reception in the lobby of the centre. Attendees mingled with each other, while enjoying the sounds of Rupert Winds and browsing artifacts brought in by the Prince Rupert Archives including photos and old programs.

After the wine and chess reception, people headed into the theatre for a variety of live performances from local artists.

Jennifer Kloppers and Doug Kydd were the master of ceremonies, and throughout the evening discussed the struggles of performing before the Lester Centre, when plays and performances were held in school gymnasiums and the Civic Centre, and the history behind the creations of the centre, and those who invisioned it. The pair also read comments from local artists about their thoughts on the facility.

There were a number of musical performances that entertained including sets by the Community Choir, the Community Band, the Rotary Choir, Mermaid Café, students from Ring System Sound Studio, the Rolling Tones, Ian, Ronnie and Gord, the Pacific Mist Choir and Nancy Paul.

Local dancers also took the stage, with both The Dance Academy of Prince Rupert and Spectrum City Dance showcasing different dance routines from this year. Students from Charles Hays Secondary School also performed a dance number, showcasing different musicals that have been presented at the Lester Centre over the years.

Rounding it off, there were also a few skits included in the gala. Harbour Theatre Society presented a number of comedy sketches, with Peter and Mary Lester’s granddaughter, Amber Mackereth also putting on a one-woman comedy skit.

As well as performances, the gala also included special presentations to recognize the support and generosity of  those who have helped the centre in everyway they can.

The Port Authority was recognized for their $150,000 contribution to the Lester Centre, as well as local Bruce Forward receiving a Certificate of Service from Prince Rupert mayor Jack Mussallem.

Funds collected from the gala will benefit the centre by replacing a number of old equipment, including  the stage curtains and lighting, which are as old as the building.