Behind the Red Curtain
To enter the Savoy Theatre is to step back In time. It was built by MacSween Contractors for its owner, John Connor, in the nineteen-twenties, to the specifications of the famed Victorian show houses. In keeping with the times, live performances of every description including boxing matches, were staged here in the early days. In its first fifty years, the Savoy provided the setting for a host of local performers and theatrical productions, and for thousands of visiting stars.
In the early 1970's, through the initiative of Mayor Dan Munroe, the Town of Glace Bay purchased the theatre from Famous Players, who were using it as a movie house. With the help of both Federal and Provincial funding, the town immediately embarked on a renovations program to restore the Savoy. The renovations followed strictly along the lines of the original building and no major changes were made to the fine superstructure. The rococo cast iron chandeliers were retained and refurbished, but new sound and projection equipment was installed and dressing-rooms and other facilities updated.
The Savoy was officially opened in May 1976, with Lieutenant-Governor Grosse and Premier Regan of Nova Scotia in attendance, and live radio coverage. Special guest was CBC Newscaster Lloyd Robertson. The Glace Bay and Sydney Rotary clubs combined to mount a ten-day performance of "The King and I", which at the time broke all box office records in the province.
Click for larger imageSince then, the Savoy has been the setting for a wide range of cultural activities. These have ranged from our own renowned Cape Breton artists, to visitors such as Stomping Tom Connors, Maureen Forrester, the Neptune Theatre, the Atlantic Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Just before the 1991 season was to have begun, the then manager wrote, "The record-breaking attendance of the past two years shows not only that people do appreciate the 1920's theatre, but that this historic theatre is used now more than it ever was, attesting to the foresight of its original builder, and also to the wisdom of the people of Glace Bay." Another new program to replace all the old seats was well underway when the fire struck, destroying much of the interior.
Following the fire in 1991, the Savoy reopened on May 7th, 1993. The Savoy has been host to a variety of performers such as Symphony Nova Scotia, Liona Boyd, Natalie MacMaster, Michelle Wright, as well as the Glace Bay School Bands, Island Voices and many more of Cape Breton's talented performers.
Support is always welcome to help preserve this wonderful theatre. For more information on what you can do to help, please read all about The Savoy Theatre Society