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How it all Works

After 65 years of operation things have evolved and changed several times when it comes to operating Massey Theatre. In 1991 the theatre began operating under the supervision of the Massey Theatre Society, with professional staff, a volunteer board of directors, and a budget of around half a million dollars annually. Many people still wonder what non-profit means. Massey operates in a fully business-like way, but it is a charitable organization - no one makes a profit, only the facility and the community benefit by its good management and economic success.

The Massey Theatre Society has added services such as the Plaskett Gallery, concessions and full service Ticket Centre in order to diversify its activities and revenue streams. These ancillary services enhance the theatre going experience for audiences. The diverse revenue base contributes resources to the ongoing operation, restoration
and upgrade of the theatre.

A common question asked is "What about the school district relationship?". Massey has a lease agreement with the district but is a fully independent organization. The lease includes arrangements for theatre use without charge for schools in our district and the district pays a lump sum for this school use. As the landlord, the district is responsible for some maintenance, but the society is billed for most of the theatre's operating costs by the district. The relationship is collaborative yet arms-length and is now based on long history and a shared commitment to youth and artistic education / development.

Many people wonder how the City and the theatre are connected. It's true that theatres in most municipalities are treated similarly to arenas, playing fields or community centres, and, are seen as necessary leisure services to assure the quality and prosperity of their citizens' lives. In Massey's case, however, the City does not have this role. New Westminster provides a grant of $55,000 annually to Massey. The funds are used by the theatre to reduce rents for a select group of New Westminster Societies. They include Royal City Musical Theatre, Royal City Youth Ballet, Maple Leaf Singers, and New Westminster Symphony. Massey Theatre, in effect, acts as a granting partner with the city for these organizations. And we are happy to do it - they contribute so much to our community's cultural well-being. Massey also discounts rental rates to other charitable societies from across the region.

The Massey Theatre Society generates most of its budget through earned revenues -- a remarkable and unique accomplishment in the world of community service. Most theatres in the country operate as either municipal of education funded facilities and receive substantial subsidies. It is, therefore, considered a remarkable achievement that Massey theatre Society is able to balance its budget in the challenging service area of the live, non-commercial arts.

We do, however have a building that is 60 years old. Equipment upgrades and maintenance are in a continuous cycle. Inventory quickly becomes outdated and everything from seats to stage is heavily used. So in addition to hosting shows and taking care of business, Massey's staff and board fundraise for capital improvements. Over $850,000 worth of upgrades have been made in the last 6 years alone and there are a number of other needs we must attend to in the near future.

The small staff of the organization works very hard to keep the grand old theatre playing its important role in Metro Vancouver. With an average of 200 booking days each year, Massey Theatre is one of the busiest large-capacity theatres in the region.

To learn more about our Vision and People [click here]

Massey Theatre & Plaskett Gallery - 735 Eighth Avenue, New Westminster, BC
Office: 604-517-5900   Ticket Centre: 604-521-5050   Email:

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