608 1st Street SW,
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Opened on February 5, 1912, the Sherman Grand Theatre was designed by Calgary architect L.R. Wardrop. With 1,500 seats. It opened with a production of “Passing of the Third Floor Back” starring British actor Johnston Forbes-Robertson. At the time, the Grand Theatre was the largest theatre in the Canadian west. Operated first as an opera, concert and stage house, then as part of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit until 1925, it became part of the Famous Players circuit in 1926.
A decade later, it was leased to J.D. Barron’s Trans-Canada Theatre Company. By then it was primarily a movie house, though it still occasionally presented vaudeville, stage plays, and concerts.
Renovations were made in 1936, 1947, and in 1965, during the course of which most of the theatre’s original decoration was either removed or encased. In 1969, The Grand Theatre was sold to Odeon Theatres, which twinned the auditorium in 1972. Another major renovation took place in 1985, after which the theatre was reopened by Cineplex Odeon as the Showcase Grand 2 on December 20, 1985. Now with two redesigned auditoriums, both equipped for 70mm projection, the combined seating capacity was 1,200.
The Grand Theatre has now been sold to Theatre Junction, which is extensively remodeling the venerable house once again, this time as a flexible venue for theatre, dance, music and film. The first phase of the project, with a ground-floor restaurant and a second floor theatre, opened early in 2006.
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