The original Roxy Theatre opened in 1938 and quickly became an entertainment fixture in the Westmount neighbourhood. Designed by prominent architect William G. Blakely – whose Edmonton design credits include another iconic cinema, The Garneau Theatre – The Roxy brought art deco to the heart of Edmonton and became a meeting place, landmark, and cultural touchpoint in the city for generations to come.
Its design was given glowing reviews by the Edmonton Bulletin which wrote “Smartly modern in design, with eye catching neon sign, white stucco with black trim and gleaming, well-lighted foyer, fully air-conditioned, seats arranged to assure positive screen vision and built for comfort upholstery and adequate rest room facilities, the Roxy is truly the up-to-the-minute expression of customer service in theatre construction.” The public seemed to agree. The opening reception was attended by many prominent Edmontonians, including Mayor John Wesley Fry and Lieutenant Governor John C. Bowen.– Edmonton Historical Board
From 1938 to 1989 The Roxy operated as a movie house, under two different owners – Bill Wilson (son of Capital Theatre owner Walter Wilson), and Odeon (Suburban) Theatres. In ’89 it was donated by Nancy Power, Edmonton businesswoman and Theatre Network board member, and Theatre Network converted it into a live theatre venue. With its characteristic sloping wooden floors, beautiful acoustics and small lobby, The Roxy was home to audiences and artists alike. As the only live theatre venue in the 124 th Street area, The Roxy under Theatre Network’s care became known for its unique character its ability to surprise audiences. As the home of Nextfest, Theatre Network’s emerging artist festival, The Roxy gave birth to the careers of 500+ young artists every year, and was a building of “firsts” for many who entered it.
On January 13, 2015 – midway through Theatre Network’s 40th anniversary season – The Roxy Theatre burned down in a fearsome blaze, and despite their best efforts the firefighters were unable to contain the blaze. She was not without panache on her final night.
Seven years later, Theatre Network is proud to unveil The New Roxy Theatre, purpose-built for live theatre and multidisciplinary arts. April 14-16, 2022 marks the opening of this new place of “firsts” for our neighbourhood and our city. Thank you for being a part of The Roxy’s journey home.
Theatre Network is honoured to announce that The Roxy Theatre is open once again!