My condolences on the loss of the Roxy Theatre

A quick note to express my condolences to the staff at Theatre Network, the cast and crew of Cheerleader! and Edmonton’s arts community in general after the Roxy Theatre was devastated by a fire Tuesday morning.

As Liz Nicholls writes, and we saw on Twitter, condolences from artists locally, across the country, and internationally flooded in as the news of the fire spread. The Roxy’s long history and tradition of being a centre for new, experimental, and excellently crafted work meant that many people’s memories of the Roxy run deep.

Speaking as an audience member, while a theatre company and certainly a theatre production is much more than the building it’s in, that tactile experience you have at the building – walking up and seeing the glowing sign, the open lobby that fills up quickly during NextFest and on opening nights, the gorgeous wooden floor, the seats which were probably some of the comfiest in the city, and, well, the bathrooms – it brings the memory of the show outside of your head. The building turns a show into a tactile experience that, whether you are aware of it or not, you root yourself in during the show and physically remember when you come back for the next show. The outpouring of condolences sent since the fire is a testament to how deep those memories run.

Theatre Network is working on a plan to move forward. If you wish to donate, you can do so through Canada Helps, or by attending their fundraiser, Spring Fling, on April 29.

Theatre Network is also inviting people to share their memories of the Roxy Theatre using the Twitter hashtag #RoxyMemories or emailing info@theatrenetwork.ca.

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