Firehall at 40: Still showcasing cutting edge creativity
The Firehall Arts Centre celebrates four decades of presenting cutting-edge theatre, dance, music and more at the corner of East Cordova and Gore streets this year.
Housed in a brightly painted brick building purpose-built to contain a fire station in 1906, the much-vaunted venue very nearly became another Vancouver never-was.
“At one point, the plans were in-place to level the space and put in a parking lot,” said Donna Spencer. “Fortunately, a bunch of people fought very hard to keep it standing and do something other than that with the building. It was saved, we get it open and I think it’s pretty amazing that we are still here going after 40 years that we’re still at it.”
The artistic director since those humble beginnings, Spencer admits that she sometimes looks out the window and shakes her head that the little bit of brightness in the increasingly bleak surroundings of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has endured. Hard work has played a part. But she says steadfast dedication to presenting art that might not have otherwise found a home has been key to the space’s longevity.