Kitchener’s Registry Theatre returns with first show since pandemic began

Another sign of a return to normalcy occurred in Kitchener on Thursday night when the Registry Theater hosted a show it curated for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The theatre, which was originally established as a registry office for Waterloo County back in the 1930s, was a fitting host for a showing of the silent film Nosferatu, as the father of all vampire movies celebrates his 100th birthday this year.

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“We were celebrating the centenary of Nosferatu last night with a five-piece band and the film with a nice print of the film,” Lawrence McNaught, one of the theatre’s curators told Global News.

The theater director says they will host another show tonight and then shut down again until the fall. The plan had been to close and really get things going this fall.

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“We have a number of great projects that were postponed, and had to be canceled because of COVID,” McNaught explained. “So we decided that we would just come back with a few events in the spring now just as a way of shaking off the rust.”

He said a crowd of between 40 and 50 people came out to watch the theatre’s first show since March 8, 2020.

The Registry Theater was in the middle of its season when things shut down in 2020.

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“It stopped us in our tracks,” McNaught explained. “There were so many local artists that we were going to bring in, as well as artists from beyond, you know. We’ve had international artists too. And we had to cancel them all.”

He said when things were allowed to open with restrictions over the past two years, local dance troupes would take the stage in an empty theater to work on their craft.

McNaught said the theater also went outside the walls during the pandemic in an effort to bring entertainment options to the city of Kitchener.

“We produced eight weeks of concerts in August and September of 2021 in partnership with the city of Kitchener and the BIA and other groups,” he explained, noting that more than 20 acts took part in the sold-out outdoor concert series which was held at the Kitchener Market.

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During the hiatus, the theater management also looked at changes to make patrons feel more comfortable.

“We installed an ultraviolet system in our heating and air conditioning system so that now the air is 99.99 per cent pure air that’s coming in constantly,” he said.

While the theater will remain open as a rental spot for entertainment events throughout the summer, on Friday night it will host Mary Catherine Possano, before it goes dark until the fall.

“She’s actually going to be coming in tonight to the Registry to do another centennial event, and that’s the music of Doris Day,” he said.

McNaught said he is working with the theatre’s executive director, Sam Varteniuk, on a major celebration that to help it fully reopen in the fall.

“That will be kind of a welcome back to the Registry celebration where we’re kind of it’s going to be more of a formal reopening of the theater,” he explained.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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