Foundation for the future at the Roxy Theatre


Online-Paul Rogers at work on the Roxy

Paul Rogers of Rogers Masonry, Tile & Landscaping does some of the repair work at the Roxy Theatre in Neepawa.

Submitted Photo

Banner Staff

Neepawa Banner & Press

Last week, the Roxy Theatre in Neepawa played host to a ribbon cutting a century in the making. On May 28, the Neepawa Theatre Centre, the not-for-profit volunteer organization that owns and operates the historic theatre, celebrated the completion of Phase one of their repointing project. It’s the first part of a three phase project that will address degraded brickwork on the west side of the building.

The Roxy Theatre was built in 1906 and renovated to its current Art Deco style in 1940. It was designated a municipal heritage site in 2006. Since its construction, time and weather have taken their toll on some the building’s brick and stone work. The west side of the theatre has been especially impacted, as water flows off the neighbouring building, eroding the mortar joints between the bricks. Repairing this brickwork has long been a goal, but emergency repairs to the boiler, in 2009, roof, in 2010, and required upgrade to digital projection, in 2011, pushed this project to the back burner.

Last year, the board got serious about making this project a reality and began pursuing grants. Talking about the project, Facilities chair Jeff Braun said, “The foundation repairs, as well as the brick re-pointing are important projects, as they will greatly increase the lifespan of the building. Once completed, they will allow the theatre to provide many more years of use for the community.”

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Photo by Ken Waddell

On May 28, members of the Neepawa Theatre Centre (NTC), Neepawa Rotary Club, Beautiful Plains Community Foundation and Province of Manitoba celebrated the completion of Phase One of the Roxy Theatre’s repointing project.  Phase 1, which was completed earlier this year, involved repointing the stonework on the west side of the building’s foundation.

Repointing project provides a foundation for the future

Two site visits with representatives from the provincial government focused on the need to repoint the brickwork on the building’s west side, including the stone foundation. This involves a mason scraping out the degraded mortar and replacing it, as well as any damaged bricks. The project was split into three, more manageable, phases. Phase 1 involved repairs to the building’s stone foundation; Phase 2 will involve repointing the west exterior wall; and Phase 3 will involve rebuilding the shelter around the emergency exit, which must be removed to access the brick in Phase 2, as well as grading, to ensure that water flows into the back alley, instead of back towards the building. Board chair Kate Jackman-Atkinson said that they chose to start with the basement because they were able to access a grant from Community Places, but the work had to be completed over the winter.

With support from the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation, the Neepawa Rotary Club and the Manitoba government’s Community Places Program, Phase 1 was completed in early 2018, at cost of approximately $12,000. The board has now turned their sights towards Phases 2 and 3, which have budgets of approximately $30,000 and $10,000, respectively.  With some carried over grant dollars, as well as a newly approved grant from the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee, they are almost halfway towards their goal for Phase 2. “We’re very thankful for the support of our donors, which has allowed us to move forward with this vital project. It’s rewarding to see how much the community values the theatre and the services we provide,” said Jackman-Atkinson.

The May 28 ribbon cutting offered a chance to thank the donors, show them the newly completed work, as well as that yet to be done. Paul Rogers, of Rogers Masonry, Tile & Landscaping, was also on hand to talk about the project. Jackman-Atkinson said they were pleased to be able to work with a local mason.

The board is currently awaiting news on grant requests submitted earlier in the year for Phases 2 and 3 and will proceed as soon as funds become available. “We would like to get this project completed as quickly and possible, and then we can return our focus to helping meet the community’s entertainment needs,” said Jackman-Atkinson.