One of Burnaby’s most famous sons is using his star power to help the Arts Club Theatre Company.
The company has a dollar-matching fundraising campaign underway until July 31, and Michael Bublé is lending his voice to an appeal to help out.
“This past year has taken a hard toll on all of us, artists and arts organizations included,” Bublé said in a personal video he created to boost the campaign.
“Just know this: that without places like the Arts Club, there wouldn’t be close to as many opportunities for Canadian artists to learn and work and grow.”
Before becoming an international superstar, Bublé performed on both the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage and the Stanley Theatre stage. In 1998, Bublé starred in Dean Regan’s musical Swing! – the inaugural Arts Club production at the revitalized Stanley Theatre. He also appeared in Red Rock Diner that same year.
“The Stanley opened with the big band musical Swing! featuring the young, talented, charismatic Michael Bublé. What a thrill it was to feature Michael on our stage before he stepped into worldwide fame,” said artistic director emeritus Bill Millerd in a press release.
COMPANY HAS LOST $13 MILLION IN TICKET REVENUE
The Arts Club’s public appeal for help comes after 15 months of suspended operations.
An Arts Club press release notes that, since the initial ban on public gatherings, 24 productions have been cancelled and, as a result, the Arts Club has laid off and cancelled contracts for more than 660 artists and staff. The company has lost more than $13 million in ticket revenue.
While the Arts Club produced one-person shows last fall at its Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre and offered digital streaming, all three of its venues now remain dark. The company says its fundraising efforts now will be vital to its reopening post-pandemic.
“We are very grateful that Michael is amplifying our message during this difficult time – a time when we’ve felt so buoyed by the support of our community,” said artistic director Ashlie Corcoran in the release. “We look forward to welcoming theatre lovers in person and flourishing again.”
The Longhedge Foundation, a longtime Arts Club supporter, has pledged $100,000 to match all gifts made to the Arts Club from May 11 to July 31. Tax-deductible donations can be made online or by calling 604-687-5315, ext. 847.
All proceeds from the campaign will support the reopening of the Arts Club’s three venues.