More than just shows: Algonquin Theatre has something for everyone

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It’s not just a theatre. More than a performance space, the Algonquin Theatre is a community gathering space, a place for innovation and creativity, and a place where memories are made.

You may have been there to watch a concert or play, or maybe your child’s dance competition. You could have been there for a conference or a public meeting. Maybe you’ve perused the Huntsville Art Society’s art gallery in Partners Hall. Your children may have attended a March Break or summer drama camp. Maybe you’ve heard about some private video shoots, like the time Gord Downie spent a few days recording just before his final tour. There’s even been both weddings and a marriage proposal (she said yes!) on the Algonquin Theatre stage. It’s a versatile venue, made moreso thanks to the creativity and flexibility of the theatre’s front-of-house and technical staff and its volunteers.

“People that rent our theatre put a lot of trust in us,” says Samantha Love, customer service representative for the theatre and the smiling face you’ll see most often at the box office. “They expect us to have a high level of service and we don’t disappoint. Whether you are renting the theatre or Partners Hall for your event or conference, or are coming to a performance, our goal is to make you feel like you’re taken care of and I think that we do that very well.”

The Good Lovelies live taped their performance at the Algonquin Theatre in February 2019 (Photo Mark Klassen via The Good Lovelies Facebook page)

The Good Lovelies live taped their performance at the Algonquin Theatre in February 2019 (Photo Mark Klassen via The Good Lovelies Facebook page)

Gord Downie and the band for the Secret Path tour on stage at the Algonquin Theatre in 2016 (Photo courtesy of the Algonquin Theatre)

Gord Downie and the band for the Secret Path tour on stage at the Algonquin Theatre in 2016 (Photo courtesy of the Algonquin Theatre)

A memorable first dance on stage at the Algonquin Theatre. (Photo: Soultree Photography)

“We set a high standard and we hear it continuously from our patrons and our producers—they don’t get treated this way anywhere else,” says theatre manager, Matt Huddlestone. “They know they can come here and take a deep breath and relax because we’ll take care of them. That high level of service is truly organic—we do it because we enjoy it.”

The Algonquin Theatre sees a diverse mix of uses—local dance school recitals and high school performances, conferences and meetings, and world-class performers—many returning thanks to the service they receive from the start. Recently, the Canadian Improv Games Sudbury/Muskoka regional finals were held at the theatre with much praise from participants and organizers alike, prompting producer, Robin Clipsham, to tell Doppler, “[The night] came as close as I’ve seen to what the nationals feel like [at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa]. The Algonquin Theatre had much to do with that: the setting, the service we received, the kindness. It was so generous.”

HHS Moot celebrates their win with event producer Robin Clipsham, in the foreground (Photo: Madi Jones)

HHS Moot celebrates their Canadian Improv Games regional win with event producer Robin Clipsham, in the foreground. Clipsham said the experience the teams had at the Algonquin Theatre was as close as they get to the feel of the Games’ national tournament held at the National Art Centre in Ottawa. (Photo: Madi Jones)

It’s all in a day’s work for theatre staff and volunteers—management, front-of-house staff, the technical crew and volunteer ushers and bartenders all work seamlessly together to make memorable experiences.

“As I’m selling people tickets, they’ll often tell me about their history with the Algonquin Theatre,” says Love, “like grandparents who take their grandchild to a show every summer. It’s a special thing that they do together and it’s a memory that we’ve helped to create. Whether you’re here for a show or a play, or a conference or an opportunity to expand your learning in some way, it just becomes a part of you. Life happens at the Algonquin Theatre—this is your theatre and whatever reason you’re here for, something special could happen.”

Theatre staff will be launching a new social media hashtag this season #myalgonquintheatre to encourage people to share their experiences. “We want people to come in and create their own moments and memories,” says Huddlestone.

Above: The Muskoka Small Business Centre recently hosted a conference at the Algonquin Theatre. Breakout sessions were held onstage.

Huntsville Art Society show Shed a Little Light

The Partners Hall gallery showcases new art each month courtesy of the Huntsville Art Society (Doppler file photo)

To see what’s on and to learn more about the Algonquin Theatre, visit algonquintheatre.ca. Follow along on Instagram @algonquintheatre, on Twitter @algonquintheatr, and on Facebook @algonquintheatre and if you share your own Algonquin Theatre moments, be sure to tag #myalgonquintheatre.

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2 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Matt and Sammy (alphabetical order) are two of the friendliest people who I’ve met in town; since moving here almost 10 years ago. Even though they’re always busy with something; they give you the impression that they have the time to listen to you. Always helpful; always smiling; always a credit to the Theatre and the Town.

  2. Karen Cassian on

    I deal with Sam and Matt regularly at the theatre as part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts or the Huntsville Art Society Gallery Committee. They both make me and everyone around them feel very welcome at all times. They play an active part in the Partners Hall HAS Gallery Committee and are as excited as we are, when a new art show comes in. The Town of Huntsville should be very proud of these two representives.

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