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.
Since then, the Savoy has been the setting for a wide range of cultural activities. These have ranged from our own Cape Breton artists such as Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family and The Men of the Deeps, to visitors such as Stompin’ Tom Connors, Maureen Forrester, Leonard Cohen, kd Lang, The Irish Rovers, Blue Rodeo, the Atlantic Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Since 2013, the Savoy Theatre has also been producing large scale musicals beginning with the renowned Les Miserables and continuing with Chicago, The Little Mermaid JR., and Into the Woods. The Savoy Theatre will produce Peter Pan Jr. in the Fall of 2015, followed by a production of The Sound of Music in November 2015.