The Venue: Malkin Bowl
The Venue is a profile series from Laura Murray Public Relations that ventures behind the scenes of Metro Vancouver’s foremost arts and culture venues, diving into the past and unveiling the unique stories and events that have made an indelible impact on our city’s creative community.
This week we spoke with James Cronk, Managing Producer of Theatre Under the Stars.
Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl has been a mainstay outdoor venue in Vancouver since 1934. Modeled after the Hollywood Bowl and named in memory of former Vancouver Mayor W.H. Malkin’s late wife, Marion, it was originally designed as a band shell for summer concerts by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In the 1940s, Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) began presenting operettas and musical theatre and the tradition continues today.
James Cronk has a rich history with TUTS having acted in various productions in the 1980s and 90s prior to taking up post as the Managing Producer a few years ago. While LMPR staff toured the venue with Cronk, he recalled performing in Jesus Christ Superstar in 1981, the year before a fire caused extensive damage to the dressing rooms and backstage area.
What was lost in that fire were scores of autographs left on the walls by decades of previous TUTS performers. So during a recent renovation to “winterize” Malkin Bowl, Cronk ensured that the current autographs were preserved for posterity. “Some of the walls were removed while the work was being done and later put back, which means there are still autographs backstage dating from the early 80s.”
The more than $1 million renovation was completed this past winter and although “most of the work is invisible to the audience,” according to Cronk, “it now provides much-needed drainage, heating, and weather-proofing that will ensure long-term use of the venue.” With the renovations completed, TUTS is turning its attention to increasing year-round rentals of Malkin Bowl.
Audiences have several opportunities this summer to experience the newly renovated Malkin Bowl under the stars, with a cozy blanket and a picnic basket. Performances of Legally Blonde and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying are on now and will run alternating evenings until August 17th.