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Demolition prep to start for old Burnaby theatre redevelopment this month

Curtains fall at the James Cowan Theatre - for now.
Rendering for the new James Cowan Theatre at Burnaby's Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

Demolition preparations will begin later this month on the James Cowan Theatre redevelopment project at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts complex.

The theatre closed in early June, but the rest of the Shadbolt will remain open throughout construction.

The city's contractors will "make their presence felt on the site" at 6450 Deer Lake Ave. the week of June 24, according to posts on X (formerly Twitter) from the City of Burnaby.

Contractors will bring trailers, offices and fencing to the site.

The redevelopment comes as the theatre, originally built as a gym in the 1940s before being converted into a theatre, was past its useful service life and was not wheelchair accessible, according to a staff report earlier this year.

The new 38,000-sq.ft. theatre, for which the city has budgeted $55 million, will have 365 seats, 85 more than the previous facility.

Construction is expected to begin this winter, and the new theatre is expected to be open to the public in the first quarter of 2027.

For updates, check the city's project website.