The Gate House theatre came to be in 2011. Terry Ruth Eissfeldt was the leading force behind it along with a small group of volunteers. The initial vision for the space was to be a place for live theatre to thrive while supporting and encouraging all other types of performance arts. Since its opening, there have been several theatre productions per year. These productions are open to all community members. With theatre at the core of our activities, we created after-school drama programs for children in grades 4 and up. There are two groups for the youth Junior (gr 4 - 7) and Senior (gr 8-12). Each group puts on one or two performances each year.
Another discipline of the arts that has been a part of Gate House’s activities over the years from the start is live music. There has been a wide range of artists and styles that have been performed. We also hold an open mic night once a month for our local artists. It is a much look forward to the event each month. It is also a free event so everyone can hear the amazing talent the North Island has. In addition to the local talent, we bring up artists across the province to perform. In 2021 we expanded our music activities even more! We now run North Island Music Fest (formally Hyde Creek Music Fest). The event typically takes place in August. It is an event that is looked forward to by many community members.
Dance has also been a part of Gate House’s history. Local dance studios have used the space over the years for year-end recitals and Winter performances. Recently our dance section has seen amazing growth due to the new organization, BC Movement Art Society. Now our theatre gets to experience professional dance performances both on the national and international scale. We are very excited about this new growth.
In addition to the arts, the space also showed movies. Being the only movie theatre North of Campbell River. In the earlier years, there were movies every week. That has since decreased to a movie a month. However, we do offer free movies throughout the year for special occasions and to give back to the community. We have also added an outdoor/drive-in movie theatre. It only operates from May to October due to weather. While the majority of Gate House’s activities are based in Port McNeill this screen actually travels around the North Island so each town gets to experience it!
Over the years Gate House continues to grow and adapt. Its success has to do with the countless hours of volunteer work and amazing community support. We look forward to what the future has in store for us!