New name for Penmar Theatre

The Penmar Theatre has been renamed the Valley First Community Arts Centre.  - Submitted
The Penmar Theatre has been renamed the Valley First Community Arts Centre.
— image credit: Submitted

Paulette Rennie isn’t sure when people will see the Valley First logo on the outside of the old Penmar Theatre, but it will probably be soon.

This week, the Valley First president visited the theatre to announce a partnership between the credit union and the Penmar Community Arts Society, which is working to renovate the former movie theatre and transform it into a three-auditorium theatre where the society will present movie screenings and live performance events.

“Anyone who knows Penticton knows the Penmar,” said Rennie. “As soon as the facade is done, we want to get our sign up. But in the meantime, I am hoping  we will get some temporary signage up there to let the entire community know that it will be the Valley First Community Arts Centre.”

When renovations are complete, the revitalized theatre will include a 650-seat auditorium, with a new stage for live performances and upgrades to the two smaller auditoriums, renovated lobby, new upper lobby, upgraded facade and expansion to accommodate a side-stage, green room and additional commercial space.

All that will take some time to complete, but Jennifer Vincent, a board member of the society, said that with the investment from Valley First and a $125,000 loan from the City of Penticton’s amenity reserve fund, they have a substantial portion of what they need.

“We’re looking for other relationships and partnerships, which will be just as sustainable and supportive as we have with both of those. For us to reach what we call phase two, we need a substantial injection of fundraising, but our goal is to get open as soon as possible in a self-sustaining manner,” said Vincent. “We are looking at probably June to be able to open our doors with what we’ve got, which is really exciting.

“From the outside, it certainly looks quiet right now, but the renovation process should start soon.”

Rennie said Valley First immediately felt the partnership would be a good fit when they were approached by the Penmar society.

“We do have a good relationship with many of the board members of the society,” said Rennie. “It’s a society that  came together to really create something good in this city and that is what we want to be a part of.”

Vincent said the society couldn’t be happier to have Valley First on board.

“We share a lot of similar ethics and visions about working with community and investment and development with communities,” said Vincent. “Our goal is to create a community space which serves the whole South Okanagan and brings more cultural diversity to our community.”

The first phase of redevelopment will see the amalgamation of two of the existing larger auditoriums into a single 350-seat theatre as well as construction of the performance stage, improvements to the front facade, an upgrade to the lobby area and the first phase of expansion which will include side stage and green room areas.

Follow the Penmar society on Facebook ( and Twitter @ThePenmar, for up to date membership information and upcoming events.


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