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June 2015

smart biz Good things growing in Manitoba

Mac DeMarco performs at The Park Theatre. Photo by Dwayne Larson. By Brenlee Coates


he Park Teatre has been the Madonna of theatres in the building’s 100-year history – constantly rein- venting itself.

Even in a decade’s time under current ownership, it’s

undergone many looks and changes. “We had DVD rentals. We had coffee. We had desserts. And for a little while we had a kitchen area,” says owner Erick Casselman. When DVDs became outdated, and the dining function

never took off, the Park decided to concentrate on what it did best: hosting live entertainment. “It actually allowed me to focus on what our strength was, which was live music and

live comedy and events,” says Casselman. “Everybody that works here has the same idea of what this place could be.” Te singular vision has paid off: Park Teatre recently

won the Western Canadian Music Award for Venue of the Year. On top of hosting diverse musicians both locally and internationally, plus being a hub for comedy and com- munity events, the Park Teatre creates its own signature programming. “Tose are really key to me – because those are ones we’re developing,” says Casselman. “If you’re not doing stuff with your community – what’s the point?” In August, the Park will debut a brand-new festival in

its South Osborne neighbourhood. “It’s a street festival of sorts, taking place in six places on the street within a two-block radius of the Park,” says Casselman. “I’ve always

Te Park Teatre’s 100-year evolution The South Osborne institution was recently named Western Canada’s Venue of the Year

loved this neighbourhood… We’re in the best community.” Te Park is also partial to the local music scene, with

friends across every realm, and musicians occasionally moonlighting at its venue. Wanting to continue to help foster newcomers, Cas-

selman and a couple partners are looking at starting a separate venue, which will have an even more intimate feel for developing artists. “Watching people grow and watching them come into themselves… it’s the best,” says Casselman. “Right now, I think we’re seeing some of the most talented, who should be widely recognized, artists come out.” While the music scene in Winnipeg seems to be hitting its groove, the same could be said of the Park.

Expanding their repertoire in West Broadway page 11


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