Arts & EventsAlive@25 Block Party a Success: Thousands Celebrate Centrepointe Theatres’ 25th Anniversary

Alive@25 Block Party a Success: Thousands Celebrate Centrepointe Theatres’ 25th Anniversary

Alive@25 Block Party a Success: Thousands Celebrate Centrepointe Theatres’ 25th Anniversary

Mop-wielding custodians do the Can-Can. Stage hands and ushers follow with the Two-Step. Acrobats spin from ropes, a hoop and cube, suspended from Ben Franklin Place. Performers, staff and Centrepointe Theatres legions of volunteers made sure everyone knew how many people it really takes to run a theatre at the 25th anniversary celebrations at Centrepointe Theatres on May 4... and the crowd was in awe.

“I loved the guy doing cartwheels on a string,” said one six-year-old boy.

“This is amazing,” says another member of the impromptu audience.

The orchestrated performance piece awed crowds as it laced its way through the building’s atrium, theatre lobby and back outside for a grand finale that showcased dancers hoofing it in the pond and aerial artists suspended from the roof.

But the stunts were just one of many things to see and do at the site. With more than 35 different activities and performances to enjoy, the Alive@25 Block Party was a birthday bash people won’t soon forget. Four thousand participants took part in the free community event.

“I never realized Centrepointe Theatres was in our backyard,” said one young mother, her arms laden with clay elephants, laser cut-outs and a colourful bunch of balloon animals, all crafted by her children at the event. I am definitely going to put this place on my list.”

The summer weather conditions added to the celebratory vibe inside and out. Little ones took in a performance by Juno-nominated children’s performer Jennifer Gasoi at the library while some created their own music at the Musical Petting Zoo. Tweens and teens were looking forward to trying out new moves after checking out the skatepark. Others tried juggling with local arts group, Créations in Vivo, while some got a unique Henna tattoo courtesy of Mushfiq Ensemble.

13C-139   036No matter a person’s age, the anniversary celebrations had something for everyone —from remote-control robots to pottery workshops, as well as a host of other performances throughout the day by world-beat musical group, DRUMHAND, Aboriginal Experiences Hoop Dancing and comedian Buddy Wasisname, to name a few.

“I am so excited to see so many people turn out to celebrate this milestone anniversary with us,” said Allan Sansom, artistic producer and portfolio manager of Centrepointe Theatres. “I would like to thank all the staff, volunteers, arts community and our partners within the City of Ottawa who made this day a success.”   This weekend’s anniversary activities are only the beginning, with a jam-packed 2013-2014 season and a host of entertaining choices. There is a lot more fun and excitement still to come.

Big Acts for a Big Season: Centrepointe Theatres Announces 25th Anniversary Lineup

Internationally acclaimed comedians, music veterans who play everything from blues to classical and hip hop, children’s television personalities, an illusionist from Las Vegas and a dragon from Canada—this is just a small sample of what Centrepointe Theatres has to offer this season. And if this is any indication, 25 is going to be a very good year.


“We spent a lot of time looking at our data and listening to our audiences and we have made sweeping changes to how we program,” Sansom noted. “People asked and we have delivered.”

There is plenty happening off-stage too, with fantastic pre- and post-show activities, as well as interactive programming that is sure to be an experience.

“Centrepointe Theatres has been a cultural hub in the City’s west end for a quarter of a century, with more than 80,000 patrons attending both our theatres every year,” says Sansom. “We want to make sure it remains that way, so we are giving our patrons a chance to not only watch the action, but be a part of it.”

A juggling workshop will be offered after the show when the acrobatic duo Circo Comedia comes to town. A tea party with pink cupcakes and pink lemonade is on the menu when Pinkalicious is in the house. A limited number of meet & greet VIP passes are available for purchase so fans can get their pictures snapped with kids' TV sensations and animal adventurers, the Kratt Brothers. Kids can also interact with things that creep, crawl and cuddle at Little Ray’s Reptile display.

When Arlene Dickinson from CBC’s Dragon’s Den takes the stage. a question-and-answer session has been added to the mix for the entire audience. Ticket holders will be part of a live recording for CBC Radio’s off-the-cuff game show The Debaters and everyone gets in on the action during improv shows presented by such famous actors and comedians as Jim Belushi, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

“(The Debaters) is less of a show and more of a party... at least if feels like one to me,” says Belushi, about his upcoming show at Centrepointe Theatres with the The Chicago Board of Comedy.

“A party!” It’s a good way to sum up Centrepointe Theatres’ milestone season. Whether you are dancing in the aisles to the Downchild Blues Band or laughing at musical numbers about office politics in the show The Water Coolers, it’s fun for the whole family.

Anniversary celebrations will continue to pop up and show announcements will follow throughout the season, including everything from big mainstage shows to intimate interactive programming featuring local talent in the Centrepointe Studio Theatre. From kids’ dance clubs to improv nights, people will want to come back to Centrepointe again and again.

Tickets are on sale online at, over the phone at 613-580-2700, or in person at 101 Centrepointe Drive.

_DSC1695Debbie Hill, manager of cultural services for the City of Ottawa, had high hopes for the 25th anniversary celebrations for Centrepointe Theatres: "I've worked in this building for almost 22 years and I've never seen the crowds we had out. The success of this party exceeded my expectations. All these dancers and entertainers and people doing stunts were volunteers who work at Centrepointe Theatres! They rehearsed late in the evenings when there was no one in the building. Truly amazing."

Motormouthed comedian Rick Mercer performed A Nation Worth Ranting About. "Rick Mercer really can do those rants, " Hill recalled. "When he focused on Rick Hansen of Man in Motion and how he was his idol, Rick Mercer went on for 20 minutes without stopping. He didn't work from any notes. There were no pauses. There was no stumbling over words. It was incredible. Rick Mercer is a comic genius, a brilliant performer!  He stayed for 90 minutes after his show and autographed copies of his books, chatted with every person he met.  Normally you don't get that from entertainers.

13C-139   217"We're seeing a real demographic shift in this area and that will be reflected in our future programming," Hill revealed. "There are a lot more young families (and children) living in this area, so there will be a lot more family-oriented shows at the theatres. Children show hosts and children's television stars will perform at Centrepointe, and they'll really try to engage the audience. "

Over the past quarter-century, big-name entertainers  have been attracted to Centrepointe Theatres. Hill told Ottawa Life: "Looking back, I'd have to say that one of the great highlights for me was Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. To see Lyle Lovett on stage with a full orchestra from only 12 feet away was unbelievable!

"This theatre is a place of variety," Hill sums up. "You can see acts from around the world and from around the corner!  Our local performing arts groups are just amazing and I laud their efforts. We have a whole diversity of programming here. It's a real artistic hub that we have here in the west end of Ottawa. "

Alive@25 Block Party – Top Secret Surprise Performance Revealed!

Custodians, administrators, stage crew, caterers, box office staff, ushers, performers— and that’s just the beginning.

How many people does it take to run a theatre.

Centrepointe Theatres’ staff, volunteers and community partners attempt to answer that question with a surprise performance at its Alive@25 Block Party, held May 4, 2013 at Ben Franklin Place, located in Ottawa, Canada. More than 4000 people attended the event to commemorate its 25th anniversary. And the response to this spectacular stunt was electric.

Check out the video to see the full performance. From coverall wearing, mop wielding maintenance staff to acrobats literally suspended from the rooftop—this is one you don’t want to miss!

To learn more about Centrepointe Theatres and its exciting new season visit

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