The Venue: Jericho Arts Centre
The Venue is a profile series from Laura Murray Public Relations that ventures behind the scenes of Metro Vancouver’s foremost arts and culture venues, diving into the past and unveiling the unique stories and events that have made an indelible impact on our city’s creative community.
This week we spoke with Richard Strachan, president of the non-profit organization, Friends of Jericho Arts Society.
Set in the idyllic neighbourhood of Jericho Beach, Jericho Arts Centre is one of Vancouver’s quaint historical gems.
Originally built as a gym for Canada’s military stationed at Jericho during WWII, the historic site was one of few buildings spared when the land became city property in the 1970s.
Used as an extension of the West Point Grey Community Centre for the next couple of decades, the building was granted to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in 1993 and officially christened the Jericho Arts Centre.
While expanding the community’s access to the arts, welcoming United Players of Vancouver as a regular presenter in the early 1990s, the venue remained a part-time community centre.
In 2004, however, a group committed to the future of the building united to form the non-profit Friends of Jericho Arts Society, and in 2007 was given the rights to lease the building as a full-time arts venue.
“We saw the need for supporting the arts on Vancouver’s west side,” says Richard Strachan, president of the volunteer society.
Resident theatre company United Players has since been joined by Fighting Chance Productions, in addition to productions by several emerging theatre companies, exhibitions by visual artists, and the occasional comedy sketch or music ensemble.
“Our mandate is to help enable artists to present their work,” says Strachan. “We only take a percentage of the box office revenue rather than a flat fee, which makes it much more accessible for emerging companies and artists.”
While the building’s interior has been renovated over the years, its original shell remains intact, earning Jericho Arts Centre a Places That Matter plaque from the Vancouver Heritage Foundation this fall.
Jericho Arts Centre launches its 2012/13 season this September, with the Canadian premiere of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View.