The owner of Rivercity Players' “clubhouse” has donated it to the community group which has been in the process of converting it to a small theatre.

Building donated to theatre group

For more than a decade, RCP has called 1080 Hemlock Street home

A substantial barrier to Rivercity Players Society’s (RCP) financial security has been lifted, thanks to a benevolent landlord.

Michelle Woodrow Nelson, the former owner of Rivercity Players’ “clubhouse” on Hemlock Street, has donated the property to the society.

Rivercity Players Society’s members, whose passion is presenting live theatre, have been concerned about paying the rent throughout their 45-year existence in the community.

For more than a decade, RCP has called 1080 Hemlock Street home. The society’s concerns over rent have now been eliminated.

RCP has historically depended on gaming grants to cover what represented their greatest operating expense – rent.

All that has changed thanks to a generous gift of title by Michelle Woodrow Nelson, the former owner of the Hemlock Street property, which previously housed a Nautilus Gym.

Nelson is excited about the changes and efforts that the RCP board has recently undertaken and feels the organization will be better able to justify upgrades to the building as owners.

Recently, RCP commissioned local artist Dan Richey to design and execute an 88-foot long mural along the broadside of the cinder block building.

The mural has raised RCP’s profile in the neighbourhood, and serves as an indicator of the exciting works being undertaken inside, said RCP president Linda von Zuben.

Working under the direction of the City of Campbell River, and with local service contractors, the society’s overall plan for the building is to make the interior space more conducive to an enjoyable and intimate theatre experience.

The society plans to add additional accessible washrooms, relocate the building’s furnace, complete electrical upgrades which will allow for better control of lighting and to undertake the necessary upgrades to meet the building code requirements for a facility permitted to hold small gatherings.

“Through Nelson’s generous gift, the society now feels confident these long overdue renovations will be enjoyed for years to come, and that they needn’t concern themselves with relocation or rent woes,” von Zuben said.

Rivercity Players recently received a $10,000 grant-in-aid from the City of Campbell River to upgrade their building’s accessibility.

The club is also coming off an artistic accomplishment with von Zuben being judged best director in a one-act play festival in Qualicum Beach earlier this month.