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Orpheum ready for centennial bash

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The Orpheum Theatre is going to celebrate a century of providing entertainment to Estevan area residents with a centennial bash that will stretch from Friday, April 4 to Saturday, April 12.

A silent film festival will run from April 4 to 6. Short comedies will be shown at 1:30 p.m. and at 8 p.m. on the 4th, and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 5th.

“We're asking people to … dress in period costumes, but it's optional,” said Jocelyn Dougherty, who has owned the theatre along with her husband Alan since 1998. “We're going to have our staff all dressed in the theme, and a couple ushers during the grand opening will go up and down the aisles.”

Rodney Sauer will be flying in from Colorado for the event, and he'll be provided a piano accompany for the silent movies, just like in the old days.

The centennial bash, and the grand opening of the Orpheum's new Cinema No. 2, will occur on April 6 at 2 p.m. A film strip will be cut to mark the opening of the new cinema. There will be a brief history of the theatre, and funny silent film shorts will follow.

The first “talkie” shown at the Orpheum, Alibi, will be shown at 8 p.m. It was at the theatre in 1929.

Sauer won't be the only special guest at the event. Mary Elizabeth McKenzie, whose grandfather and father operated the theatre for most of its first 50 years, will be in attendance.

And Alice King and Earl Mus, who operated the Orpheum for more than 30 years before selling it to the Doughertys, will also be present.

“We feel very fortunate that we had the opportunity to buy it from Earl and Alice, because they wanted to keep it a family business,” said Alan Dougherty. “The theatre chains are taking over all the small town theatres, or the theatres are closing.”

From April 7 to 10, retro movies will be shown in Cinema No. 1. They'll range from the 1930s to the 2000s. Free admission will be offered for the retro movies.

The festivities will wrap up with another form of entertainment that the Orpheum has been known for: concerts. Jack Semple and his band will perform on April 11. And Alan Frew of Glass Tiger fame, and his band, will play on the 12th.

Each concert will begin at 9 p.m. Tickets are still available.

 


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