Thanks to the generosity of Ron and Rae Fawcett, Kelson Hall will be the official home of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and Western Canada Theatre. The doors opened on Nov. 28.
Philanthropists Ron and Rae Fawcett purchased the 20,000-sq. ft. Kelson Hall property a few years ago for the specific purpose of creating additional rehearsal spaces to support community need and house arts groups alongside the proposed Kamloops Centre for the Arts building. Despite the 2020 referendum being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fawcett’s worked to complete renovations on the property to fulfil the commitment they made to the community.
“Rae and I are delighted to be able to provide this building,” said Ron Fawcett. “We have been dedicated to furthering the performing arts in Kamloops for many years. This is only the first step to make sure our community groups will thrive and create a need and a demand for the next step, which will be performing stages so our community can attend and enjoy their performances.
“The thanks we will get will be the citizens of Kamloops enjoying and prospering in the use of this fine facility.”
Located at 330 St. Paul Street, Kelson Hall features offices along with functional spaces for performances and rehearsals, such as the 1,900 sq.-ft.,134-seat Lori Marchand Theatre and the 1,800 sq.-ft. Bruce Dunn Hall. State-of-the-art lighting in the theatre and sprung floors in each of the rehearsal spaces speak to the care that has gone in to ensuring the spaces are built for performing artists of all ages.
The Lori Marchand Theatre and Bruce Dunn Hall are named after two key community figures who have contributed to building the capacity of the arts in Kamloops over the years and have demonstrated leadership during significant times of growth in our community. Lori Marchand is the former general manager of Western Canada Theatre and Bruce Dunn retired as the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra’s musical director in 2017.
The creation of these new spaces in our community will also support the education divisions of Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and Western Canada Theatre—Kamloops Symphony Music School and Stage One Theatre School. Kelson Hall will eventually welcome a variety of community arts organizations, individuals, and students once a community booking system has been put in place.
“The City is so pleased and grateful for the generosity of receiving this fully renovated and accessible building from the Fawcett’s,” said Kathy Humphrey, the City’s Corporate Services Director. “As we add this building into the City’s asset inventory, we will continue to work with the arts community to ensure that the building reaches its full potential to provide much-needed rehearsal and performance space in the community.”
“Ron and Rae Fawcett are visionary community builders and supporters of the arts,” said Barb Berger, the City’s Recreation, Social Development, and Culture Manager. “It has been a privilege to watch this amazing transformation from the former TELUS Annex to Kelson Hall and the collaboration that Ron undertook with both the Kamloops Symphony and Western Canada Theatre to create this wonderful cultural asset.”
The City of Kamloops offered extreme gratitude in accepting the donation of Kelson Hall from Ron and Rae Fawcett.