Welcome to "Kelson Hall" - Western Canada Theatre

Today, the Kelson Group announced the development of a stunning new arts space in Downtown Kamloops, called Kelson Hall. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Ron and Rae Fawcett for this generous gift to the Kamloops arts community! We are beyond excited for all the new opportunities Kelson Hall will offer to local artists, Stage One Theatre School students, the Kamloops Symphony, WCT, and all of Kamloops — we can’t wait to share this beautiful new space with our community.

"We really can't thank Ron and Rae enough for their vision and generosity towards the arts and education in Kamloops. This incredible new building will be a jewel of the Kamloops community, and will host thousands of artists, students, and audiences every year. The venue is a much-needed addition to WCT's performance, rehearsal, and administrative capacity, and a long-overdue permanent home for our Stage One Theatre School, which will start classes there in January, 2023. We have many exciting performances planned for Kelson Hall in the future, in addition to our 2022/23 Season at the Sagebrush and Pavilion Theatres." – James MacDonald, WCT Artistic Director

Here is the full announcement:

The Kamloops Symphony (Symphony) and Western Canada Theatre (WCT) are moving into a beautiful, newly renovated facility this fall, thanks to a multi-million-dollar donation from local philanthropists, Ron and Rae Fawcett. The 20,000 square foot building in downtown Kamloops, previously the TELUS Annex located at 330 St. Paul Street, is undergoing a major renovation to create an ideal space for the Symphony and WCT offices and schools, plus spaces for performances and rehearsals. In addition to serving the expanding needs of the Symphony and WCT, this building will become an arts hub for the City of Kamloops, eventually welcoming a variety of community arts organizations, individuals, and students. For the Fawcetts, the opportunity to purchase the building and redevelop it to suit the needs of the arts community directly adjacent to the proposed site of what they hope will be the future Kamloops Centre for the Arts, was an opportunity they could not pass up.

Rae and Ron Fawcett show blueprints for Kelson Hall to KSO Executive Director, Daniel Mills, and WCT Artistic Director, James MacDonald.

“It is no secret that Rae and I are supporters of the arts here in Kamloops,” noted Ron Fawcett. “We also realize that the work we have been doing on this building isn’t a secret either with so many people collaborating and the construction soon to wrap up. We are excited to be able to donate as a gift the fully renovated building to the City of Kamloops later this fall when the citizens of Kamloops will become the 100% owners of this building. We then understand it will be leased to, and operated by, the Kamloops Symphony and Western Canada Theatre.”

The new centre will be called Kelson Hall and has a 1,700 square foot rehearsal facility for the Symphony, a 2,000 square foot, 134-seat theatre/rehearsal hall with state-of-the-art lighting and audio for WCT, plus a 1,500 square foot studio complete with hardwood sprung flooring. In January 2023, Western Canada Theatre’s Stage One Theatre School will move into a new 1,500 square foot studio, and another 1,700 square feet of space will make room for nine teaching classrooms for the Kamloops Symphony Music School. The building has been designed to be fully accessible.

“Kelson Hall will prove to be an extraordinary cultural space,” commented Barbara Berger, Recreation, Social Development, and Cultural Manager for the City of Kamloops. “Ron and Rae Fawcett’s passion and unwavering support of the arts is amazing, but it is their commitment as contributors in building a truly liveable community that is remarkable. Ron has been working closely with both the Symphony and WCT staff in the design and renovation, as well as keeping City staff included in the project at every step. The generosity of this gift is significant for building the capacity of the arts in Kamloops.”

Fawcett anticipates that Kelson Hall will alleviate the need to upgrade some of the City’s current facilities, providing cost-savings to the City and taxpayers.

“Located adjacent to the current site downtown where the Kamloops Centre for the Arts could be built, Kelson Hall has been designed to support the proposed Centre by including a number of amenities and much-needed spaces for Kamloops’ arts groups,” said Fawcett. “It is a completely stand-alone facility which will greatly enhance our cultural experiences. Of course, we would like to see the Kamloops Centre for the Arts move forward, but in the interim, Rae and I saw how Kelson Hall could fulfill our commitment to support our arts community in an important and meaningful way, so we jumped at the opportunity.”

Ron Fawcett

Kelson Hall joins a long list of fantastic arts, culture, and heritage facilities downtown creating a diverse cultural district. These include the Paramount Theatre, which is home to the Kamloops Film Society, the Kamloops Art Gallery, St. Andrew’s on the Square, Stuart Wood School, and the Kamloops Museum & Archives. Once the official handover of Kelson Hall is made to the City of Kamloops, anticipated for October of 2022, together with WCT and the Symphony, an open house for the media and community members will be hosted.

For more information, contact:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison - Kelson Hall, 250.574.0221 | aleece@amplifyinc.ca