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Roxy Theatre rises from the ashes, seven years after fire

Re-built Roxy Theatre offers four spaces for live performances
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Jason Carter's Dancing Bears are part of the artist's exhibit at the newly opened Roxy Theatre, through May 13. Photo: Roxy Theatre

The Roxy is back. The iconic theatre on Edmonton's 124 Street burned to the ground seven years ago, and patrons and arts groups alike have been anxious for its return.

An April introduction to the new $12 million facility has been met with anticipation of what can now happen in the space. The Roxy's owner/operator Theatre Network is raring to go, according to Jill Roszell, Theatre Network's business development director. "We are thrilled to be back," she said.

Starting as a movie house in the late 1930s, the Roxy was converted into a live performance venue in 1989. Independent theatre and special events had been a mainstay of the retro theatre until the fire. And while nearly all the old building was destroyed in the fire, there's a bit of old with the new, according to Roszell, pointing to bits of the old sign hidden into one of the newly constructed walls.

Of course, modernizing the space has been well-received too, and the new Roxy Theatre building has that: updated washrooms, a rehearsal hall, rooftop deck and two theatres (one is named in honour of donor Nancy Power).

Upcoming events at the newly-refurbished Roxy Theatre include NextFest and Fringe Festival happenings. On now through May 13, Jason Carter's artwork inhabits the Miller Art Gallery inside the walls of the Roxy. As well, the Indigenous Art Series runs in the Lorne Cardinal Theatre May 5-7 and 13-14, featuring works by Chubby Cree, Josh Languedoc and artists from the Indigenous Feminism Collective and iHuman Youth Society. This multi-disciplinary showcase runs alongside the Crow's Theatre production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It--a radical retelling by Cliff Cardinal.

The Roxy Theatre is at 10708 124 Street in Edmonton. Phone 780-453-2440 for more, or theatrenetwork.ca

P 780 453 2440