Built as part of Burnaby South Secondary School, the Michael J. Fox Theatre plays an important role in the life of the Burnaby community. Opened in 1993, this professional, community-style theatre offers a beautiful, practical and affordable venue for amateur and professional artists, enhancing the city's already-rich cultural fabric. A steady schedule of multicultural performances, dance, theatre, music and other community events help make it one of the busiest theatre venues in the lower mainland.
Situated adjacent to one of the world's most technologically advanced schools, it also serves as a site for video conferencing, a studio for radio and television broadcasts, and a setting for professional development and business seminars.
Its design includes specific considerations and features for those with special needs, such as the students of the Provincial School for the Deaf. The theatre promotes the community ideals of accessibility and inclusion in the truest sense.
Theatre operations are overseen by an independent, nonprofit society. The Michael J. Fox Theatre Society Board consists of community volunteers and functions independently of the Burnaby School Board.
In November of 1995, the theatre was officially named after one of Burnaby's most famous sons, Michael J. Fox, in recognition of his achievements in the arts and commitment to the community.
The Michael J. Fox Theatre has become a focal point for culture, education, business and community in Burnaby and the Lower Mainland. It illustrates a focus on learning, opportunity and community and reflects an ongoing commitment to developing skilled, talented performers, and informed, inspired audiences and citizens.
The Michael J. Fox Theatre Gallery is a great example of what can happen when you take a peek behind the wall. The wall in question is in an electrical room – and when a hole was accidentally punched in it one day, a look through with a flashlight revealed a dirty, dusty void under the Theatre's upper seats.
Thus began an inspired reclamation project – to create space where none existed, and put it to good use. The old outside wall was carved out, the outside patio supports were glazed to become the new outside wall, doors were installed to the lobby, courtyard and south hall. Two utility spaces were added at the north and south ends to become concession prep area and storage as well as house the air exchange unit and refrigeration.
A final layer of drywall, carpet and paint gave us the first incarnation of the Gallery – a very functional room which can be used for VIP receptions, small videoconferencing sessions, added lobby space and a host of other hospitality functions.
More recently, version 2 of the Gallery has emerged – custom-made tackboard and suspension strips have given new purpose to previously blank walls. Additional suspension strips on the brick pillars next to the courtyard now facilitate the display of a wealth of visual art. Two unusual wall recesses were outfitted with mirrored inserts, glass shelves and specialty lighting to show off small sculptures and found objects.
The Theatre Society gratefully acknowledges the creative input of Burnaby South's Visual Arts faculty, and the fine craftsmanship of School District 41's master carpenters in putting together this latest improvement.
The Gallery is included in many Theatre functions, and can be rented as a stand-alone space – call our Facility Coordinator for more information.
This Gallery Feature page will update from time to time with information on visual art and special events held in this space – we look forward to having you visit sometime! And take this site's Virtual Tour for the 360 degree view.