Subscribe to Sun City Sentinel

* indicates required
Arts & Culture

Monarch Theatre to Re-open Under New Non-Profit Ownership

minute read

The Monarch Theatre will once again open its doors, looking to the future while honouring the past.

September 17, 2023

MEDICINE HAT, AB — The marquee lights of the historic Monarch Theatre will soon shine brightly again, as the establishment prepares to reopen under new ownership. The theatre, built in 1911 and heralded as Canada’s oldest surviving movie theatre, was recently sold by the City of Medicine Hat to the Monarch 1911 Society, a newly formed non-profit organization.

In partnership with The Rotary Clubs of Medicine Hat and managed by Plugged-In Media, the theatre aims to contribute to the community by reinvesting a portion of its annual revenues. The revenues, along with grant funding and private donations, will be channeled into community grants available to organizations around Medicine Hat.

“Drawing from the distinct expertise of each individual across our three partnership organizations, we’re equipped with a wide range of skills to benefit the Monarch,” says Frank Divine, Monarch 1911 Society. “As active members in the community, we’re committed to revitalizing this beautiful theatre for the residents. Our business plan is thoughtfully designed to contribute directly back to the community, and we have some exciting initiatives in the pipeline.”

More Than Just Movies

The Monarch Theatre is poised to undergo a transformation from a purely cinematic venue to a multifaceted community arts center. While it will continue to screen both classic and indie films, the theatre will also host a wide array of cultural events such as concert performances, spoken word presentations, and commercial events. The space will also be available for private functions like weddings and birthday parties.

“The vision is to create an engaging experience that pays homage to the Monarch's historic past while embracing a diverse range of artistic expressions,” says Dave Cruickshank, Technical Director of the Monarch Theatre. NOTE: Dave Cruickshank is a Sun City Sentinel contributor.

A Century-Old Tradition Continues

Locally cherished for generations, the theatre has seen more dormant days than bustling ones in recent years, particularly after the dissolution of the CCDA. However, under its new management, the Monarch is all set to reclaim its status as a cultural hub in Medicine Hat.

"We all look forward to revitalizing a space for the whole community to gather and feel comfortable in!" says Rob Pape, Theatre Manager, "Together, we can make the Monarch a place of community once again!"

“I'm thrilled about the transition,” said Aaron Nelson, Manager of Cultural Experiences and Events, City of Medicine Hat. “The City initially stepped in to purchase the Monarch to provide stability. With this sale, we're confident that the new owner shares our vision for the theatre’s significance and its potential to further enliven the downtown core."

An exciting calendar of events is in the works, promising a rich blend of experiences that both young and old can look forward to.

Grand Opening Details Awaited

Details for the grand opening are yet to be announced, but it is already known that the event will feature a screening of Luke Fandrich’s newly-completed documentary, "Your Cinema Needs You," which celebrates the Monarch Theatre itself.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re excited to begin this new chapter for the Monarch Theatre. The focus is clearly on creating a future while honoring our past, and welcoming another century of memories within these historic walls,” said Cruickshank.

As Medicine Hat's crown jewel prepares to open its doors again, it’s clear that the community will once more have a vibrant, versatile venue to call their own — one that honors its long-standing tradition while embracing the possibilities of the future. - The Monarch's Website will be a place of event, programming and rental information, as well as a place to submit your thoughts, opinions and ideas.

For immediate updates and further information, stay tuned or contact

Article ID:
If you have a story you'd love to see published on the Sun City Sentinel, drop us a line, or better yet sign up as an author and have your say as often as you like!
Contributor terms and conditions