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High-end digital equipment plus broadband equals new opportunities for the Civic Theatre

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
May 30th, 2014

The Civic Theatre Society wants to broadcast Nelson’s culture and ideas to the world, not just bring in movies.

That was one of the messages of Civic Theatre board member Don Johnson in a presentation to Nelson City Council on May 20.

“With the state of the art digital capabilities we will have, we can make sure we give the best cinema experience possible,” he said. “But it also means we can live stream events from Nelson. Rather than simply being a receiver of info, we can disseminate.”

He said this will be enabled by broadband internet, to be made available soon to downtown business locations in Nelson.

“I believe that capacity to become active players in the connected world will become an important economic factor for lots of rural communities.”

Johnson said Nelson is in an ideal position to get started on this because “we have hugely talented people in all across the spectrum—high tech businesses, projects like the Kalein Hospice, some of the things the Kootenay Co-op is doing—we have ‘thought leaders’ here.”

“We see the Civic as a bit of a soap box,” says the group’s Roger Ley, “a broadcast station, for some of the cultural outlooks in Nelson. The best example was the Local Intelligence Gathering last year.”

That all-day event featured talks by local people engaged in innovative projects of various kinds. Johnson suggested that event could have been broadcast to the world, and he invoked TED Talks as a model.

“For rural communities,” says Ley, “fibre optic and telecommunications connections to the rest of the world will move Nelson closer to Vancouver. We can have someone in Nelson doing a workshop for millions of people all over the world even though they are sitting in this beautiful oasis in the middle of nowhere.”

Ley says he is not aware of a movie theatre doing this sort of thing in a small city.

“Colleges and universities do it, Selkirk does it, but we might be the first movie theatre with this idea,” he said. “The whole town could become like a campus, with shared resources we can use in new and innovative ways that even we haven’t thought of yet.”

Johnson’s presentation to council was part of a larger presentation by the Civic Theatre Society, parts of which were previously summarized in The Nelson Daily here.

The Civic Theatre Society’s full presentation to council, with graphics and floor plans, is attached below.

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