The Historic Kiggins Theatre
When the Kiggins Theatre opened on April 24, 1936, Frank Newman, President of Evergreen Amusements, declared it was “one of the most modern and luxurious theaters in the Pacific Northwest.” During World War II, Vancouver was bustling with laborers who came to work in the shipyards. After the war, the theater struggled and closed in 1955. It re-opened in 1958 with a new marquee (which graces the front of the theater today). Owner, Adamson Theater Chain, renovated the interior and exterior of the theater. On July 26, 1977, Adamson Theater Chain closed the theater lamenting “a lack of wholesome films to show there.”
In the 1980s, the theater showed second run films at cheap prices ($1.50 for a double feature). Management blamed crowd control problems on the violent nature of films; along with alcohol smuggled in purses and winter coats. During this time, future Kiggins owner, Dan Wyatt, witnessed a fight during The Karate Kid that spilled into the lobby and ended up in injury to a priest who attempted to intervene.
In 2006, Bill Leigh bought the theater. A group of volunteers (including Seanette Corkill, Clare Ghormley, and Leah Jackson), called the Friends of the Kiggins, volunteered to restore the theater to its original splendor and Bill Leigh invested $400,000 along with endless hours of sweat equity.
Soon after the renovation, the theater was bought by current owner, Dan Wyatt. On October 3, 2012, Richard Beer joined the Kiggins as Director of Programming and Marketing and the current mix of independent film, community-oriented programming, classic film, and live shows was introduced. In 2012, the Kiggins was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.