June 16th, 2024

Heritage in the Hat: Taking her back to 1941

By Malcolm Sissons on April 12, 2024.

Since the successful relaunch of the Monarch Theatre this past December, January and February with Editing Luke’s captivating documentary, “Your Cinema Needs You,” movie enthusiasts and community members are eager to learn when the doors will open for regular screenings. While an official schedule of evening movies has yet to be announced, the theatre has not been dormant.

The Monarch has been abuzz, hosting special events that cater to the diverse interests of the community, including birthday parties, film viewings for the local skateboarding club, the equestrian centre, the paddling club and the RCAF centennial.

However, the Monarch’s journey continues with significant renovations on the horizon, spearheaded by the Monarch 1911 Society, which owns the building. The theatre will soon undergo a transformative facelift, taking it back to the 1941 appearance.

Urgent repairs are needed, including the restoration of the deteriorating front parapet and stucco, as well as the reattachment and painting of auditorium ceiling and wall tiles (requiring a staggering 20,000 screws!). Additionally, a sound system upgrade to Dolby 7.1 is in the works, promising a state-of-the-art cinematic experience for Monarch patrons.

Such ambitious endeavours require substantial financial investment. The Society of the Friends of the Monarch Theatre is gearing up for a major fundraising campaign, aimed at restoring the Monarch to its former glory reminiscent of 1941.

The campaign’s inaugural event, sponsored by the Yuill Family Foundation, will be a pair of Mother’s Day concerts featuring performances by musicians Mick Dalla-Vee and Michael Sicoly. Each concert will showcase a different music theme, paying homage to iconic duos Simon and Garfunkel, and Lennon and McCartney. In addition, Luke Fandrich will provide an update on how his feature documentary “Your Cinema Needs You” is faring on the film festival circuit.

Tickets for these concerts are available for purchase at the Monarch box office or by email to friendsofthemonarch@gmail.com, offering patrons not only a nostalgic musical experience but also the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause.

Attendees will receive charitable receipts for a portion of their ticket purchase, recognizing their support in revitalizing the Monarch.

As the Monarch Theatre embarks on this exciting new chapter, it remains committed to serving as a cultural beacon for the community, blending entertainment with local history and heritage. The Monarch, taking her back to 1941!

Malcolm Sissons is a past member of the City of Medicine Hat Heritage Resources Committee.

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