Vogue Theatre remains closed for the foreseeable future. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Vogue Theatre remains closed for the foreseeable future. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Curtain call (for now): Fernie’s Vogue Theatre

BC’s oldest theatre to close temporarily due to a pile-on of pandemic-related difficulties

Fernie’s Vogue Theatre – the oldest movie theatre in British Columbia – recently shut its doors as a result of projector malfunction.

According to owner Dennis Djonlich, following a difficult year weathering pandemic-related storms and dwindling clients, the locally-run theatre wasn’t in the financial position to proceed with repairs – that was until they unexpectedly received support from their technology management company and projector manufacturer, obtaining the parts needed to repair the projector.

“We’ve made some progress over the last week,” said Djonlich.

“They’ve given me enough parts to get the projector up and running, and they’ve done so basically at no-cost, so they really helped us out. It’s unbelievable.”

Despite the stroke of good fortune, according to Djonlich, theatres all over the world are still struggling.

“The impact of COVID on our theatre and theatres in general has been catastrophic… when you’re getting 10 people a night, you’re not even covering the cost to heat the building,” he said.

Djonlich remains grateful for the community members who offered donations while they were briefly closed, however laments that fundraising would not have changed much, as that the only way to truly support theatres is to attend them.

“We do certainly appreciate everyone’s concern and the offerings of fundraising, but ultimately that business needs to stand on its own,” said Djonlich.

Despite current difficulties, Djonlich remains optimistic about the future of Vogue Theatre.

“I’m going under the assumption that 2021 might look differently,” said Djonlich. “We’re going to be okay, there’s going to be some sunshine and blue skies for this business at some point.”

According to a Facebook post, Vogue Theatre employees are working towards fixing the projector, hoping to reopen in early November.

To celebrate, the theatre is once again encouraging locals to book private, socially distant arcade parties or movie nights. To inquire about hosting parties or events, message the theatre via Facebook or call 250-423-3132.

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