Following four years of uncertainty, the Normand Bouchard Memorial Theatre or Norm Theatre is set to have its grand re-opening this Friday.
After repeated construction setbacks and a theft that resulted in the loss of $7,300 worth of audio equipment, the UBC Film Society (FilmSoc), UBC Improv and the AMS have teamed up to welcome students and faculty back to the theatre.
In a new twist on the tradition of the Film Society’s annual Big Lebowski Beer Garden, the re-opening event will include opening ceremonies and a one-hour show from UBC Improv. A screening of the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski will follow, with an intermission for a bout of human bowling. Free food will also be provided by the AMS.
“The past three years basically, we’ve been really struggling to run our events,” said Dama Correch, theatre manager of UBC FilmSoc. “So it’s kind of like a revitalization for the club as a whole because we now have our home turf back.”
The Norm was originally closed in 2015 during the construction of the old Student Union Building (SUB). Since closing, a new air handling unit and a series of accessibility upgrades have been added to the theatre to ensure that it is up to the same safety standards as the new Life building.
“It’s really very unique on campus to have a 385-seat theatre that is accessible to UBC students,” said AMS VP Administration Cole Evans. “And technically, the end of this work on the Norm Theatre is the end of the new SUB project which includes the Nest, so that whole entire project is now completed.”
FilmSoc has already begun one weekly double screening and hopes to have enough new projectionists trained by the end of term to increase their weekly screenings to two.
More than anything, Correch is amazed by the enthusiasm of new FilmSoc executives and UBC students alike surrounding the re-opening of the Norm.
“We work really hard to get interesting, diverse programming reflective of the minds and experiences of the students at UBC, and to have that happen in a movie theatre is a really special experience,” said Correch.
“Right now the Norm is a very special place to me personally and I think it has the potential to become that for a whole lot of students.”
The grand re-opening of the Normand Bouchard Memorial Theatre takes place this Friday, November 15. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets start at $5.