Martin Short Video Supports Westdale Theatre Building
Magic Campaign

Hamilton-born TV, film and theatre star, Martin Short, has recorded a video that shares the story of the Westdale Theatre’s restoration campaign – Building Magic.

Short offered to help the campaign by doing whatever he could from his home-base in California. It took the form a video that he recorded last Friday night on the set of Real Time with Bill Maher, where he was also a panelist.

Short grew up in Hamilton, attending Westdale High School and McMaster University, where he received a BA in Social Work. His career in show business began the year he graduated when he appeared in the Toronto production of Godspell. He went on to star in SCTV, Saturday Night Live on television, and in a number of major Hollywood films including Three Amigos, Mars Attacks, and Father of the Bride.

Westdale Theatre: Then, Now, Tomorrow

The Future of Westdale Theatre

After more than 80 years of stars and stories, the Westdale Theatre is about to begin a new and improved life. The restoration of the theatre begins in July of 2017. That means the theatre will have to close for renovations. But at the end of the renovation, we’ll have new washrooms, including a fully accessible one off the lobby, an expanded snack bar, new theatre seats, state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment, and an expanded stage to host theatre, music and lecture series. But, despite all of those improvements, the Westdale Theatre you’ve loved over the decades will return. When it re-opens in 2018, it’s splendid Art Deco decor will be fully restored.

FILMS

We’ve already had meetings with Canada’s largest distributors of independent and art house films. They’re excited to know the Westdale will have state-of-the-art projection and audio equipment. As Board member Fred Fuchs says, “no one has ever said they don’t like movies”. He’s right. We may not like certain other art forms such as opera, or art galleries, or ballet, but movies are the great leveller. We all have favourite movies that mean a lot to us. We’re pleased to say that the magic of movies will continue when the Westdale Theatre re-opens.

PERFORMANCES

In addition to movies, we’ll also be sharing the magic of music, one-person plays and other small productions, and lectures. Video streaming also means we’ll be able to showcase performances from around the world.

PRESENTATIONS

The theatre will also host guest authors talking about their books, lecturers sharing ideas, and community organizers in conversation with community members.

Revitalizing the Westdale Theatre:

Since the decision to revitalize the Westdale Theatre was made in early January of 2017, we’ve been detailing our plan. It has 3 key phases – Purchase, Renovate, Operate.

PURCHASE: WHAT WE DID

The theatre was put on the market in December of 2016. By early January, the Westdale Cinema Group was formed to purchase the theatre. Working with like-minded people, we assembled a group of philanthropic individuals and organizations who were prepared to put up the money, in the form of loans, necessary to purchase the theatre. Let’s just say the terms they offered were philanthropic. After a full inspection of the building by local experts, our offer was accepted on February XX, 2017. The closing date to take possession was May 30, 2017. In the coming months, we’ll be profiling the individuals and organizations who helped us to purchase the theatre.

RENOVATE: WHAT WE’RE DOING

With the purchase of the building finalized, we then focused our attention on the plans and budgets necessary to renovate the theatre. We need approximately $1.5 million to restore the theatre.  We will be submitting applications to all available grants at all 3 levels of government. But, that will still leave us short of the money we need to finish the job. This is where our Building Magic fundraising campaign comes in. Through combination of crowd funding, major donor contributions, and in-kind support for products and services from local companies, we’ll raise the money necessary to restore the Westdale Theatre to its original Art Deco glory.

Improvements you’ll see and feel include:

  • New seats
  • Extended stage for live music and lectures
  • New Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Wheelchair seating, accessible washrooms and AODA compliant features
  • New concession bar and ticketing
  • New projector, screen and cinema sound

Heritage you’ll continue to enjoy:

  • Restored 1935 façade
  • Restored architectural detailing
  • Front lobby snack bar
  • Back lobby lounge
  • Restored auditorium

OPERATE: WHAT WE’LL BE DOING

Once renovation is complete, we’ll open the doors to the new Westdale Theatre. Decades of movie memories will continue, but in a space that the original builders would be proud to see. We’ll publish a monthly film and performance calendar, featuring both first run and classic films. We’ll book guest authors, schedule Fringe festival performances, become the host to local film festivals and much more.  All in the heart of Westdale Village.  For all Hamiltonians.

Sponsored by The Hamilton Spectator

Building Magic

Phase Two Crowdfunding ends December 31

Number of Donors

412

Total Raised

$77,534.30

Donation Levels

Other donations

If you would prefer to make a private donation in an amount larger than presently offered on our Crowdfunding Campaign please contact us.

We can answer your questions and/or schedule a face-to-face meeting to share additional information with you including information regarding tax receipts for larger donations.