In various iterations, The Park Theatre has been a part of the Winnipeg arts scene since 1915. It began as a venue for silent film screenings (owners installed a sound system for “talkies” in the 1930s), local singing groups, film festivals and hosted drives and fundraisers throughout WWII for the Red Cross. Passing through multiple ownership and renovations, it stayed open for 73 years, closed for part of the ’80s and ’90s, then was given new life when the current owners bought it in 2005 and dropped $350,000 on turning the theatre into a popular live performance venue with killer sound.
For the past 11 years the Park Theatre has helped support the arts scene in Winnipeg, and won “Venue of the Year” at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2012/13. With over 300 events a year featuring music, comedy, theatre and film, the space has become home to an expansive community of artists. On their website, the venue boast of a welcoming and affordable space to both local and touring bands.
The main stage at the Park has hosted the Strumbellas, Mac DeMarco, Terra Lightfoot, Great Lake Swimmers, Cro-Mags, Propagandhi, Triggers, Mobina Galore, Séan McCann of Great Big Sea, Animal Teeth, Deadbeats XII and punk rockers Comeback Kid. They also feature community events like craft festivals and help host the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the fundraiser Girls Just Wanna Rock and the Oddblock Comedy Festival.
The Theatre has two stages: the main venue, with a capacity of 386 standing, and the lobby stage, with a 75-person capacity. The main venue is wide and breezy, with plenty of chairs and leather couches in the back for seating, and a wide roomy dance floor for higher-energy shows. Four steps lead down to the floor, but there are 12 accessible spots for individuals with mobility issues in two side wings. There is a gender-neutral washroom.