I was surprised to read Melanie Minty refer to the Bell Performing Arts Centre as “underused and overbuilt” in her Oct. 13 column (“A big, shiny new theatre isn’t needed in Surrey, but smaller spaces sure are,” arts column).
CLICK HERE to read Minty’s column.
For the record, the Bell Performing Arts Centre has hosted more than 220 bookings each year since the day we opened 15 years ago. Taking into account time needed for maintenance and dates that are identified in the industry as undesirable for rental, this is considered to be operating at near capacity.
I participate regularly in meetings of Lower Mainland theatre and venue managers and I am comfortable stating we are one of the busiest theatres in the region.
As far as the suggestion our theatre was overbuilt, we regularly turn away promoters and events because we don’t have enough seating.
The Bell Performing Arts Centre is considered a gem, a beautiful, unique, professional-quality venue in the heart of Surrey that complements the services offered by Surrey Civic Theatres and White Rock’s Coast Capital Playhouse. The Bell has fulfilled a longstanding need in the South Fraser region for a large-capacity (1,052 seats) performance facility.
The theatre is also used extensively by the students of Surrey who are provided an opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts, whether as a performer or a spectator, in a first-class facility.
Steven Goodman, manager, Bell Performing Arts Centre