The Lyric Theatre is constructed at a cost of $50,000, to host Vaudeville shows and silent movies. In 1912, Vaudeville was a form of live entertainment for all ages that combined music, dance, animal tricks, magic acts, theatrical monologues, and slapstick comedy routines. To avoid sightline obstructions, steel girders are installed to support the ceiling in the main theatre. The opening performance is a musical entitled The Red Rose, featuring a cast of 70 performers.
An RCA Photophone Sound Projector is installed by Jack Lundholm. The Lyric immediately shows its first “talkie”: Maurice Chevallier’s The Love Parade.
The Lyric operates as a popular movie house, beloved to many in the community.
The Lyric is sold and converted into a nightclub. Much of the building’s history including the lighted sign, sloped floor, fixed seating, and other memorabilia is removed at this time.
The string of nightclubs continues, ending with The Inferno. The building stands abandoned.
Literary Cafes in Swift Current begin in 1986 and gather significant momentum in 2000/01. The Lyric Theatre begins hosting this new incarnation as Write Out Loud for the 2010/11 season. A Write Out Loud Committee is struck to help strengthen appreciation for the literary and other arts, and to bring awareness of the immense talent pool that exists in this area, this province, and across the prairies. Authors have been invited to give public readings at The Lyric Theatre, always with a musical or dramatic opening act provided by area musicians or actors. A Local Writers Night is presented each February as part of the series, showcasing writers from the Swift Current area. With grants from the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, the Writers Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets the Canada Council for the Arts, and local donations and business sponsorships, Write Out Loud has been able to showcase a wide variety of authors from across the prairies.
Throughout the pandemic, Write Out Loud has been presented as a part of The Lyric Digital Stage online presentation series with great success.
The Southwest Cultural Development Group (SCDG) is formed with the purpose of converting the building into a Community Cultural Centre.
The SCDG re-opens the theatre with a sold-out performance entitled Vaudeville Revisited, bringing the history of the building full-circle.
The original musical, The Cypress Hills Would Never Be the Same, played to sold out houses in both its first and second runs in 2015 and 2017. (Book and lyrics by Stew Tasche. Co-directed by Stew Tasche and Stefan Rumpel. Production, set, and costume design by Cyndi Tasch. Musical direction by Dave Cyca.)
Gordon McCall is appointed the first Artistic Director of The Lyric and Aina Adashynski is appointed General Manger. McCall introduces more live theatre for youth and adults into The Lyric programming while maintaining all already established programs.
The Lyric premieres its Sparks In The Dark series with the acclaimed Canadian play about WW1, Mary’s Wedding, directed and designed by Gordon McCall, starring Zac Oliver and Amy Couzens. It plays to sold out audiences.
The Lyric premiers its youth/family theatre programming with the dramatization of several Robert Munsch stories for Christmas entitled Merry Munsch. It plays to sold out houses and introduces an annual tradition of the family Christmas play.
The Lyric premieres its third play in the Sparks In The Dark series, Motherhood Out Loud by Leslie Ayvazian, Brooke Berman, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Claire LaZebnik, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman, and Cheryl L. West. It is very well received.
The Lyric Theatre premieres its Great Southwest Shakespeare Festival in a theatre tent in Riverside Park. The play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The audience is invited to bring their own lawn chairs and enter the Dream environment; not a stage, but another theatrical world. A very popular opening performance for the Festival.
Gordon becomes Artistic and Executive Director of The Lyric. Georgia Graham becomes the new Administrative Director.
The second season of the Sparks In The Dark series begins with a production of Almost, Maine by John Cariani. It is well received.
Georgia Graham replaces Aina Adashynski as Administrative Director, after Ms. Adashynski moves to Vancouver. Gordon McCall assumes duties of Executive Director, as well as Artistic Director.
The Christmas play is a highlight, presenting additional stories of Robert Munsch entitled More Merry Munsch.
he third play of the 2020 Sparks In The Dark series, a world premiere by Swift Current playwright Wendy Lockman entitled Burn Rubber, Dolly, is five days away from opening when the theatre is closed due to COVID-19. The theatre remains closed for over a year. In the interim Artistic/Executive Director Gordon McCall and Board member Joey Donnelly immediately launch a new online series of programs to continue bringing programming to the community. The Lyric Digital Stage becomes a major fixture of Lyric Theatre programming throughout the pandemic. The series is entitled Lyric Digital Stage Open Stage, Lyric Digital Stage Write Out Loud, and Lyric Digital Stage Youth Talent Night. Online audiences flock to it.