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Arts & Culture

Hoodlums Defile Historic Theatre During Pride Celebration

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Historic theatre vandalized during PRIDE celebrations

August 27, 2023

FORT MACLEOD, AB – The Fort Macleod RCMP said it has arrested two youths who allegedly vandalized the town’s theatre.

During the Fort Macleod PRIDE event on Saturday, August 26, 2023, officers were called to the Empress Theatre at approximately 8:30 p.m.

The Empress Theatre is an historic 112 year old performance and movie theatre located in Fort MacLeod, AB.

Empress Theatre board chair Denise Joel said the festivities included a drag show at the theatre Saturday evening. She indicated that she was sitting in the theatre, and about 10 minutes into the show, everyone could smell something “quite noxious.”

Joel stated that a group of youths seated near the back of the theatre had a jar of what the RCMP said was Fisher and Marten lure.

Fisher and Marten lure is a black, noxious smelling liquid or paste used as an attractant to trap wild animals. There's no telling what kind of damage a substance of this kind can make to 112 year old flooring when allowed to dry and set in a substantial quantity. The lure was contained in a large jar, which was poured onto the carpet in spots, and the rest of the contents of the jar were smashed into the foyer lobby.

The Empress Theatre is temporarily closed and will remain so until an adjustor can determine the exact damages.

Joel said there was an increased police presence in the areas where the pride festivities were taking place due to backlash.

The RCMP said in a news release that two youths were arrested, who cannot be named due to provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The investigation by the RCMP is ongoing.


"Thank you for your words of love, support and encouragement, and your offers of help, time, energy and financial assistance following the events that took place at the Empress Theatre Saturday night.

The Empress rented the theatre to Drag Out the Love on Saturday evening as part of Fort Macleod's Pride Day celebrations. At the event, some individuals released a putrid, unknown substance in the theatre, creating some damage. They have been identified and arrested.

_We are currently working with RCMP, the Town of Fort Macleod, and other authorities to determine the best way to move forward. We will provide further updates as information becomes available. _

If you wish to support the Empress Theatre, please visit our website at for tickets to upcoming events or to donate.

We are so thankful for this community and our patrons. The Empress Theatre has experienced an amazing outpouring of love and support, and for that, we are grateful. Thank you to Fort Macleod Pride and the queens who put on an outstanding performance on Saturday! The Empress has always been, and will always continue to be, a safe and inclusive place for all.

Please remember: Love always wins! Thank you again."

It is important to mention that the Sunshine Sentinel stands in support of ALL people regardless of race, orientation, religion or political affiliation.

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