Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts
364 Smith Street,
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Architects: Howard Colton Stone
Previous Names: Walkers Theatre, Odeon Cinema
The 2,000-seat Walker Theatre opened in 1907 and was named for its owner, Corliss Powers Walker, who brought in live theatre, vaudeville, concerts, and silent films. The theatre switched to a movies-only format on November 2, 1945 when it was renamed Odeon and remained in operation until 1990.
In 1991, it reopened as a performing arts centre and is an official Manitoba Provincial Heritage Site.
After years of struggling, Burton Cummings, the lead singer of the rock group Guess Who, has become the theatre’s new benefactor. Cummings will begin donating a portion of the proceeds of his concerts at the Walker in order to pay down the theatre’s $1.8 million debt and fund future renovations.
In exchange for his aid, the theatre will be renamed the Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts after the singer who attended the former movie house as a child. The board hopes Cummings' name will help bring in additional grants and donations.
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